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Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs

Futureproof: Security Aesthetics and the Urban Imaginary

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 2:30 p.m. through Friday, April 21, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
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GAIA Centers "Global Urbanism" Biennial Theme Signature Program


Download Conference Schedule and Presenters' Abstracts and Bios >

Security, though in some ways the defining characteristic of our age, resists definition. As both governmental technology and anticipatory device for defining and mediating potential future threats, security may very well be what the powerful say it is.

But security is a highly contested terrain, enacted through a population’s collective recognition of risk and possibility, prompted through the bodily process of being squeezed through checkpoints, the awareness of being watched by closed-circuit TVs, the fear generated in watching a doppler radar of an approaching hurricane, and the sting of teargas. This sensory rooting of security suggests an analysis of security’s aesthetic dimensions, observable in the menace of walls and fences; the reassuring display of an emergency landing card in a seat-back pocket; the security cameras visible on lampposts in nearly every major city; and the figure of the “terrorist,” the “criminal,” or the “refugee” broadcast on the nightly news.

The sensibility such encounters provoke trucks in feelings of safety and apprehension, eliciting embodied reactions from a public that exchanges its recognition of sovereign power for the sense, momentary and fleeting, of security.

These themes—little studied by social scientists, till now—are explored in the cross-disciplinary set of papers presented in this workshop.

Rutgers Faculty Organizers

D. Asher Ghertner (Geography)

Daniel M. Goldstein (Anthropology)




Victoria Bernal (University of California, Irvine), "The Aesthetics of Cyber Insecurity: Displaying the Digital in Three American Museum Exhibits"
Jon H. Carter (Appalachian State University), "Double-Negative: Insecurity and the Arts of Survival in Honduras"
Zaire Dinzey-Flores (Rutgers University), "Staging Safety in Brooklyn's Real Estate"
Didier Fassin (Institute for Advanced Study) - Keynote Speaker - "Afterword"
Rachel Carey Hall (Syracuse University), "Performing Active-Shooter Drills: Live Simulation as a Means of Future-Proofing American Schools"
A.B. Huber (New York University), "Anonymously Yours"
Rivke Jaffe (University of Amsterdam), "Urban Security Aesthetics and the Political Geography of Sensation in Jamaica"
Ieva Jusionyte (Harvard University), "Downwind, Downhill, Downstream: Tactical Infrastructure, Hazardous Materials, and Routine Emergencies on the U.S.-Mexico Border"
Catherine Lutz (Brown University) - Keynote Speaker - "Foreword"
AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute & Goldsmiths, University of London), "Dissimulation or Simulation? Maneuvering Security in Urban Southeast Asia"
Austin Zimmerman (London School of Economics), "Building Post-Conflict Futures in Colombia"






Regarding the Executive Order on Immigration

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50 Years of Study Abroad at Rutgers

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Global Pavilion at Rutgers Day 2017

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Saturday, April 29, 2017 | 10–4 p.m.
Visit our interactive Global Pavilion at Rutgers Day 2017, test your world knowledge, and win some prizes!

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WATCH ONLINE NOW Rutgers Around the World
The GAIA Centers produced a six-episode television show celebrating Rutgers international history over the past 250 years, Rutgers Around the World. The show explores Rutgers' global footprint through in-depth discussions and profiles of Rutgers' change-makers and international opportunities on all seven continents.

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