Rosenfield Symposium Explores Use of Drones

September 05, 2014

Drone use has become prolific, despite a lack of public knowledge and debate, says an expert who will speak during a symposium on drones and drone warfare.

“The issue of how drones are used, both in warfare and in domestic spaces, is one of the most vital social problems of our time,” says Heather Hayes, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Rhetoric Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

The symposium features presentations by activists, scholars, and writers, hosted by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. The event will be held Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-11 at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The final event will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center’s fieldhouse.

Hayes will discuss “The Buzzing of the Drones: Circulating Violence from Waziristan to Washington.”

Americans have a gap in knowledge about drones, and secrecy shrouds U.S. drone programs, Hayes says.

“I believe most people don’t know the history of their creation and use, the rapid escalation of their technologies as part of the ‘global war on terror,’ and their disproportionate use on Arab populations around the world,” she says.

Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield program, says drones are an important topic in current affairs.

“Drones play a huge role in U.S. foreign and defense policy,” Purcell says. “They are on the cutting edge of technology, and they are also used for many creative purposes such as environmental conservation and agriculture.”

Hayes agrees, “The way that this technology is utilized will mark the next generation not only of weapons, but also of almost all other technologies that follow.”

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights and the Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment.