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Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

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In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws. Placing surveillance studies into conversation with the archive of transatlantic slavery and its afterlife, Browne draws from black feminist theory, sociology, and cultural studies to analyze texts as diverse as the methods of surveilling blackness she discusses: from the design of the eighteenth-century slave ship Brooks, Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, and The Book of Negroes, to contemporary art, literature, biometrics, and post-9/11 airport security practices. Surveillance, Browne asserts, is both a discursive and material practice that reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines, so much so that the surveillance of blackness has long been, and continues to be, a social and political norm.


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In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws. Placing surveillance studies into conversation with the archive of transatlantic slavery and its afterlife, Browne draws from black feminist theory, sociology, and cultural studies to analyze texts as diverse as the methods of surveilling blackness she discusses: from the design of the eighteenth-century slave ship Brooks, Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, and The Book of Negroes, to contemporary art, literature, biometrics, and post-9/11 airport security practices. Surveillance, Browne asserts, is both a discursive and material practice that reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines, so much so that the surveillance of blackness has long been, and continues to be, a social and political norm.

30 review for Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alok Vaid-Menon

    Black-led movements against police violence have increased awareness that modern policing in the US comes from early slave patrols in the 1700s that were established to catch liberated Black people and prevent Black people from revolting against captivity. During Reconstruction, local sheriffs continued this tradition: enforcing racial segregation and the disenfranchisement of newly freed Black people. In her monumental work, Professor of African American Studies Dr. Simone Browne reveals how co Black-led movements against police violence have increased awareness that modern policing in the US comes from early slave patrols in the 1700s that were established to catch liberated Black people and prevent Black people from revolting against captivity. During Reconstruction, local sheriffs continued this tradition: enforcing racial segregation and the disenfranchisement of newly freed Black people. In her monumental work, Professor of African American Studies Dr. Simone Browne reveals how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices also descend from slavery. Sociologist Dr. Gary T. Marx teaches us that the surveillance culture once reserved for military bases and prisons has now extended to the whole society. White scholars like Foucault offer institutions like the prison (in his case, the Panopticon) as the archetype of surveillance power in modernity. Dr. Browne intervenes in this conversation arguing that “the slave ship too must be understood as an operation of the power of modernity” (24). When captive Black people were kidnapped from Africa to the Americas their bodies were branded to account for a particular ship’s cargo. Browne argues that this created “a new category of subject, Blackness as a saleable commodity in the Western Hemisphere” (42). From the beginning of chattel slavery in the US, white captors developed new strategies to confine Black people including the one-drop rule, quantitative plantation records that listed enslaved people alongside livestock and crops, slave passes, slave patrols, and runway notices (24). In 1713 the Common Council of New York City passed a “Law for Regulating Negro and Indian Slaves in the Nighttime” which declared that “No Negro or Indian Slave above the age of fourteen years do presume to be or appear in any of the streets of New York City…above one hour after sun set without a lantern or a lightened candle” (78). These “lantern laws” required that the Black body remain illuminated at night so that white people could identify and control Black body in space. Any white person was allowed to stop those who walked without the candle after dark. In an interview with Truthout Dr. Browne argues that these laws created the framework for stop-and-frisk policing practices.” Dr. Josh Scannell’s research elaborates the connection between lantern laws and the NYPD’s use of high-intensity artificial lights and flood lights around public housing projects. Another example of this continuity is contemporary facial recognition technology. In the 19th century racist scientists advanced craniometry (the measurement of the skull to assign criminality and intelligence to race and gender) and phrenology (attributing mental abilities to the shape of the skull). These pseudoscientific practices sought to standardize socially and culturally constructed categories of race and sex as anatomical as a means to justify slavery and sexism. Race scientists argued that because Black bodies were supposedly anatomically distinct, Black people were less human and therefore incapable of self-governance. Dr. Browne argues that this “pseudo-scientific discourse of racial difference forms the theoretical basis to develop a facial computational model for identity authentication” (113). Indeed, with contemporary facial recognition technologies there’s an assumption that categories of sex and race are “clear cut,” when they are anything but. This is particularly evident by contemporary facial recognition technologies continually being unable to recognize dark skin people and gender non-conforming people.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara Salem

    Amazing book on race and surveillance that traces how Black bodies in the US have been central to surveillance for centuries. A must read! And she uses a lot of my bae, Fanon :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Miguel

    In the conclusion of Dark Matters, Simone Browne asks the rhetorical question she has gestured toward all along: "could there be some potential in going about unknown or unremarkable, and perhaps unbothered, where CCTV, camera-enabled devices, facial recognition, and other computer vision technologies are in use?" In Browne's interdisciplinary study on modern and historical surveillance, she draws attention to the relationship between oppressive surveillance practices in the context of chattel s In the conclusion of Dark Matters, Simone Browne asks the rhetorical question she has gestured toward all along: "could there be some potential in going about unknown or unremarkable, and perhaps unbothered, where CCTV, camera-enabled devices, facial recognition, and other computer vision technologies are in use?" In Browne's interdisciplinary study on modern and historical surveillance, she draws attention to the relationship between oppressive surveillance practices in the context of chattel slavery in the United States and the modern airport security theater. She also draws out the potential for refusal in the space of modern biometric technology that is built on an assumption of prototypical whiteness. If the response of Hewlett-Packard to their camera's inability to detect black faces is to suggest that users include more light in the frame, how is that distinct from the "lantern laws" of 1713 New York City that regulated the mobility of black and Native American enslaved people? It is through the rigorous analysis of these unexplored or unexposed connections that Browne interrogates notions of surveillance and opens up space for refusal. Browne also engages in great readings of contemporary art pieces related to surveillance, brands, and branding. She also draws attention to the absurd and outdated premise of biologically determined race that is the fundamental assumption of biometric R&D divisions. Browne's work is a broad survey that opens the door for a certain kind of inquiry into surveillance and the modern constitution of the racialized subject.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Silas

    Phew, this took me a while to get through. You'll want to spend some time in reflection after reading a section or two. Privacy has become a privilege given solely to the rich and "normal." Browne offers a convincing case that this is how it has always been ever since the Land of the Free was first discovered. The poor and "out-of-place" must be catalogued, watched, and tracked. From the chattel slavery of the past, to the non-whites of today. And due to 9/11, any acts challenging this surveillan Phew, this took me a while to get through. You'll want to spend some time in reflection after reading a section or two. Privacy has become a privilege given solely to the rich and "normal." Browne offers a convincing case that this is how it has always been ever since the Land of the Free was first discovered. The poor and "out-of-place" must be catalogued, watched, and tracked. From the chattel slavery of the past, to the non-whites of today. And due to 9/11, any acts challenging this surveillance only further indicts you as a potential suspect. The biggest takeaway is to consider, as she quotes Desi Cryer, what changes when her "blackness enters the frame." Who is visible/invisible? Subject/Viewer? Who may opt-in/opt-out? And so forth. Even if you're already keen to ask such questions, this is still worth the read to get an in-depth look at the roots of this anti-black surveillance. It may be a bit dense, but Browne makes sure to clearly define the terms (Unvisible & sousveillance, for example), and the case stories are fascinating and well-researched.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sabrarf

    One of the best reads about the surveillance of black people and blackness. To hard to read it by yourself. I will definitely advise you to talk with your friends after reading it. It's heavy and hard to just read it and not think about it all the time. You can see Fanon's footprint in it and a great analysis of his book Black skin, white Mask through the book. Highly Recommended people! One of the best reads about the surveillance of black people and blackness. To hard to read it by yourself. I will definitely advise you to talk with your friends after reading it. It's heavy and hard to just read it and not think about it all the time. You can see Fanon's footprint in it and a great analysis of his book Black skin, white Mask through the book. Highly Recommended people!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    chock full of new information framed in ways i've never thought of before, amazing read chock full of new information framed in ways i've never thought of before, amazing read

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kong

    Dark Matters genealogizes the racialized legacy of surveillance through the kaleidoscope of blackness, white gaze, and colored epidermalization. By scrutinizing fugitive slave advertisements, art instillations, personal memoirs, and court documents, Browne chronologizes how slavery engendered a regime of racialized surveillance that mutates carnivorously to strangle black life. While I appreciated Browne's thorough analysis, her chronology haphazardly skips from transatlantic slave ships to post Dark Matters genealogizes the racialized legacy of surveillance through the kaleidoscope of blackness, white gaze, and colored epidermalization. By scrutinizing fugitive slave advertisements, art instillations, personal memoirs, and court documents, Browne chronologizes how slavery engendered a regime of racialized surveillance that mutates carnivorously to strangle black life. While I appreciated Browne's thorough analysis, her chronology haphazardly skips from transatlantic slave ships to post-reconstruction black codes and biometric technologies to the TSA security theatre, and I found this historical progression disorienting. More importantly, I found some of her black feminist resistance strategies purely academic and historically anachronistic, and I wish there was another chapter dedicated to detailing practical applications of dark sousveillance in a globalized and digitalized world. Overall, Dark Matters is an abstract, yet invaluable study that reminds us that America's surveillance practices have their inexorable foundations in anti-blackness.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allee

    It’s certainly possible that I’m a moron, but I found this book far too dense and academic to be able to get much out of it. It constantly talked about what it was going to do next, a writing pet peeve of mine, and constantly made nouns into verbs or adjectives, another person peeve (like “operationalize”). And one could call it “wide-ranging” but it felt more like the author had a bunch of different topics that she wanted to explore and stuck them all in one book, and they didn’t feel all that It’s certainly possible that I’m a moron, but I found this book far too dense and academic to be able to get much out of it. It constantly talked about what it was going to do next, a writing pet peeve of mine, and constantly made nouns into verbs or adjectives, another person peeve (like “operationalize”). And one could call it “wide-ranging” but it felt more like the author had a bunch of different topics that she wanted to explore and stuck them all in one book, and they didn’t feel all that connected (the discussion of Will Smith movies and biometrics? A South Park episode and TSA practices? Huh?)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Not only is Browne brilliant, but also funny unexpected ways. (Comment about the lantern in the epilogue? Priceless.) 17/10 would recommend as required reading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Black Syllabus

    I had to write a report/review on this book for class and don't feel like writing a separate review so here is my class assignment! ----------------------------------------------- In this interdisciplinary book on race and surveillance, Simone Browne guides us through the history of surveillance practices against Black people in America, drawing parallels between surveillance during enslavement and surveillance in the current digital era. This book contributes to evidence that history, as it perta I had to write a report/review on this book for class and don't feel like writing a separate review so here is my class assignment! ----------------------------------------------- In this interdisciplinary book on race and surveillance, Simone Browne guides us through the history of surveillance practices against Black people in America, drawing parallels between surveillance during enslavement and surveillance in the current digital era. This book contributes to evidence that history, as it pertains to white power over Blackness, is inherently repetitive with the investigation of surveillance practices. I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons, from the creative and engaging way that it is written to the various mini-history lessons that I learned along the way. In one of my favorite sections of the book, Browne makes the connection between lantern laws and the hypervisibility of Black people today. Whether literally illuminated with a lantern or figuratively illuminated by occupying predominantly white spaces, “we come to internalize an expectation of the potential of being watched” (p. 76), which leads to a performative sensibility, or the common practice among Black people of performing respectable behavior to avoid negative attention or repercussions for stepping out of line. The primary connection I made between this book’s content and the media context of our course is via fugitive slave advertisements and the way they were used to alert the public of Black incivility, encouraging white men to find, capture, and re-enslave these individuals. Furthermore, Browne details the surveillance that Black radicals including Frantz Fanon faced in the early to mid 20th century. These both allude to the ways modern media is used to surveil Black people who are labeled uncivil for asserting their rights as humans, whether that be via news that speculates on the justification of Black murder, or censorship of our self-expression on social media. Browne highlights several instances where racism and sexism work together to oppress Black women in unique ways under this context. For example, she outlines the ways that Black women are subjected to “security theater” in the form of discriminatory surveillance, invasive searches, and detainment at the airport, particularly post-9/11. While this chapter does a great job at highlighting some of the ways surveillance shows up for Black women specifically, my primary critique is that this chapter did not fit well with the rest of the book. Chapter 4 contributed to the book’s primary argument that Black people are subject to surveillance and control by state agents, however it deviated from the first three chapters in a number of ways. This chapter makes no explicit connection to surveillance during enslavement, which was a startling omission that made the book seem incomprehensive. Furthermore, this chapter goes on a few tangents that I felt were irrelevant. She discusses pop culture representations of Black women and security theater, particularly a South Park episode involving Black women TSA officers who are depicted in a stereotypically degrading way. While I see that she was trying to point out the irony of depicting Black women as TSA agents with power when in reality they are more often on the other end of that exchange, I didn’t see how this particular comparison contributed to the main point of the book. This chapter, while still technically relevant to the book’s thesis, took a side step that ultimately made it feel out of place. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and developing a deeper understanding of the historical and modern manifestations of racialized surveillance, or “the production of norms pertaining to race and [exercising] a ‘power to define what is in or out of place’” (p. 16; quoting Fiske, 1998, p. 85). I look forward to using it as a reference in my work going forward.

  11. 4 out of 5

    jasmine sun

    anyone interested in surveillance should read this book! simone browne traces modern american surveillance to its roots in antiblackness, and specifically the tools/technologies used to regulate and commodify slaves. and anything with roots in racism is ripe to replicate it, so there's also plenty of modern case studies to accompany her historical investigation. she kicks off with an overview of the surveillance studies literature (who knew there was the panopticon, banopticon, and even the McOpt anyone interested in surveillance should read this book! simone browne traces modern american surveillance to its roots in antiblackness, and specifically the tools/technologies used to regulate and commodify slaves. and anything with roots in racism is ripe to replicate it, so there's also plenty of modern case studies to accompany her historical investigation. she kicks off with an overview of the surveillance studies literature (who knew there was the panopticon, banopticon, and even the McOpticon?!), which is full of pointers to other interesting texts. in chapter 2 and 3, she dives into the thrust of the argument, going from book of negroes -> passports / census databases and anthropometry -> biometrics. other fascinating discussions include the role of light in black hypervisibility (lantern laws, computer vision), the grounds-up resistance of "dark sousveillance" (fake ids, cv dazzle). the analogies are endless, and as an analytical tool, may be useful for helping modern technologists avoid reinventing jim crow. other notes: the first half is much stronger than the second, and browne writes in heavy academia-ese, aka unnecessarily circuitous and jargon-filled. it helps to be good at skimming these kinds of texts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    G

    I need to stop reading theoretical texts like nonfiction books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mtume Gant

    Provactive argument and great addition to the ongoing discussion of how Blackness exists in America's seemingly contradictory consumer but also surveillance world. Wish the book was a bit more exhaustive, I was constantly left with many questions, especially in wondering how the author perceived the existence of her historical findings (especially around slave branding) in contemporary society, so I actually wanted MORE. It also feels at time a little scatterbrained but I think thats because of Provactive argument and great addition to the ongoing discussion of how Blackness exists in America's seemingly contradictory consumer but also surveillance world. Wish the book was a bit more exhaustive, I was constantly left with many questions, especially in wondering how the author perceived the existence of her historical findings (especially around slave branding) in contemporary society, so I actually wanted MORE. It also feels at time a little scatterbrained but I think thats because of my wish for a bit more. But its a great piece, a great way to look at surveillance as not just "policing" or "discipline" but also its the collection of data that aims to commodify, place and oppress by creating systems. I hope she does a follow up because I feel there are more avenues to touch.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Theodore

    Browne has reshaped my way of thinking of surveillance. In Dark Matters, Browne discusses both the technological and social dimensions of surveillance and how they've been used to monitor Black bodies. It way eye opening reading about the ways in which surveillance has been used from the very being of the transatlantic slave trade to the present. Also the juxtaposition of how technology has advanced biometrics yet those technologies are not developed with Blackness in mind. This text has left me Browne has reshaped my way of thinking of surveillance. In Dark Matters, Browne discusses both the technological and social dimensions of surveillance and how they've been used to monitor Black bodies. It way eye opening reading about the ways in which surveillance has been used from the very being of the transatlantic slave trade to the present. Also the juxtaposition of how technology has advanced biometrics yet those technologies are not developed with Blackness in mind. This text has left me thinking more deeply about the hypervisibility yet invisibility of Blackness, existing within those two spaces.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rhya

    Browne traces the surveillance of blackness from past to present. While at times infuriating, the book is important. What’s also great about Browne is that there is an element of hope in her writing as each chapter concludes with a description of an art instillation that “talks back” against these practices.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Derek Fenner

    A book that does exactly what it has set out to do: " to situate the dark, blackness, and the archive of slavery and its afterlife as a way to trouble and expand understandings of surveillance" (p.164). A book that does exactly what it has set out to do: " to situate the dark, blackness, and the archive of slavery and its afterlife as a way to trouble and expand understandings of surveillance" (p.164).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Kapsar

    I wish the people that created the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma had read this book, I believe it would have provided a great deal of context around surveillance. Through the context of reading about race, I've learned a lot about American history that I regret not knowing earlier in my life. This is one of those books that does multiple things at once. First, it teaches about Black history in general, not just Black people in America, but in Africa as well. Second, it teaches about th I wish the people that created the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma had read this book, I believe it would have provided a great deal of context around surveillance. Through the context of reading about race, I've learned a lot about American history that I regret not knowing earlier in my life. This is one of those books that does multiple things at once. First, it teaches about Black history in general, not just Black people in America, but in Africa as well. Second, it teaches about the history of prisons and the very first prison the Panopticon. Third, it discusses Surveillance and surveillance technologies. It doesn't teach these as separate threads, though. It's impossible to teach these topics separately. Even when reading White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, small parts of these topics were brought up. In Between the World and Me, these same ideas were brought up, just a shorter time horizon for the history. The United States created law after law, mechanism after mechanism, to surveil Black people. According to Browne, this as soon as an African was captured, they'd be branded, sorted, and documented. Then they'd be surveiled in the slave ship, which was a truly horrific environment. There was something about how Browne described the slave ship that hit home a lot harder than when I'd seen the ships before. Maybe it's the Pandemic, maybe it's my own allergies, maybe it's understanding that they were locked in this miserable condition for 67 days! Speaking of the pandemic, the right-wing out bursts against wearing masks is laughable considering some of the laws we implemented in the past to protect white people from Black people. There were laws in New York City, called Lantern Laws where any Black person had to have a lantern lit at anytime after dark. They weren't allowed to be in groups larger than three people and had to have a candle lit at all times. If they didn't, they could get 40 lashings (apparently it was reduced later to 15). 40 Lashings could certainly kill someone. Ultimately, the book moves from the history of surveillance to present day, which draws a pretty straight line to what we experience now at the airport after 9/11. However, in the airport Black and brown people experience significantly more surveillance than white people. This can lead to ridiculous things like having an afro searched for bomb materials and statistically higher search rates for Black Woman than white women even though statistically white women are more likely to have contraband. Further, this extends to accepting Black people as citizens, as given in an example with a Canadian woman. I believe this book is critical in understanding our Government's response to the BLM movement, the obsessions with Antifa, avoidance of investigating right-wing terrorism, and our current surveillance state. I think anyone that's working in the social media space or adtech space, should read this book. If you care about ethical technology, you need to read this book. Because if we understand this and address the problems outlined in this book, we address surveillance issues for everyone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ManMothz

    There's a lot of great history and historical analysis here, the assembling and deployment of Dark Matters specific historical interventions and interpretations is valuable. Particularly interesting are the discussions of lantern laws and how branding functioned as a technology of surveillance. The problem I have with the book is a problem I have with a lot of theory in the more post-colonial bent I've been reading recently. There's a lot of emphasis on how the argumentation will set the stage f There's a lot of great history and historical analysis here, the assembling and deployment of Dark Matters specific historical interventions and interpretations is valuable. Particularly interesting are the discussions of lantern laws and how branding functioned as a technology of surveillance. The problem I have with the book is a problem I have with a lot of theory in the more post-colonial bent I've been reading recently. There's a lot of emphasis on how the argumentation will set the stage for actual praxis, but little information about that praxis itself: "Routing the study of contemporary surveillance—whether that be biometric technologies or post-9/11 security practices at the airport—through the history of black enslavement and its attendant practices of captivity opens up the possibilities for fugitive acts of escape, resistance, and the productive disruptions that happen when blackness enters the frame." (Browne 164) That's the final concluding thought of the book. There's little information, practical or otherwise, about what those "fugitive acts of escape resistance etc" might be or how they might be deployed. Now, look, I understand that one of the first things you're taught (Or at least I was taught) when you're learning to write essays is that your conclusion should reiterate your argument and then also explain why you're argument is important. That's obviously part of what Browne is doing here. I guess my main gripe is that the concluding gestures toward the resistance possibilities seem too important to just not expound upon. Maybe provide a longer roadmap instead of just directions.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Theo Dora

    I wished the important consideration in the epilogue had been posed earlier , troubling the liberal value of inclusion , “When dark matter troubles algorithms in this way, it amounts to a refusal of the idea of neutrality when it comes to certain technologies. But if algorithms can be troubled, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. In other words, could there be some potential in going about unknown or unremarkable, and perhaps unbothered, where CCTV, camera-enabled devices, facial recognit I wished the important consideration in the epilogue had been posed earlier , troubling the liberal value of inclusion , “When dark matter troubles algorithms in this way, it amounts to a refusal of the idea of neutrality when it comes to certain technologies. But if algorithms can be troubled, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. In other words, could there be some potential in going about unknown or unremarkable, and perhaps unbothered, where CCTV, camera-enabled devices, facial recognition, and other computer vision technologies are in use ?” (163)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stormie

    I read Dark Matters for one of my graduate school classes and it is, point blank, a phenomenal book. It is historical and engrossing, simultaneously difficult to read and impossible to put down for too long. I highly, highly recommend reading Dark Matters, to go beyond the basic notion of what constitutes surveillance, when surveillance began in America, and how surveillance is encoded into the lives of some but not others--willingly or unwillingly. Sometimes both.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hanneke

    Compelling counter-analysis of the panopticon and what this concept hides from view when it comes to surveillance. Particularly the analysis of the plantation and the slave ship as spaces of incarceration helps to construe a more nuanced view of how space, surveillance and racial stigmatisation work together in an American context.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This was a very interesting but dense and jargonic book for the majority of it. The last chapter felt a little rushed and superficial in its analysis, more akin to a list of anecdotes to illustrate points without really explaining them, which I felt was a shame because it would be very relevant to contemporary readers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This book stretched my reading skills in a good way and got me to see and appreciate how art can be used to discuss contemporary issues. It also helped me think through aspects of society that I can't see directly while making it feel visceral (not as visceral as those that actually experience, just more than an intellectual exercise). This book stretched my reading skills in a good way and got me to see and appreciate how art can be used to discuss contemporary issues. It also helped me think through aspects of society that I can't see directly while making it feel visceral (not as visceral as those that actually experience, just more than an intellectual exercise).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mena

    Absolutely brilliant. Academic but accessible. Intellectually profound but highly entertaining. Will assign to students in the future. (Also, will be of interest to Foucaultian scholars.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julia K

    amazing, brilliant etc.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    sometimes gets a little too into the weeds on cultural/semiotic theory, but the scope of the book eith regards to surveillance creep is fantastic.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Wow. Damn. Yes. Wish I had read this about five years ago, but no time like the present. Really learned a lot and loved Browne's cogent argumentation. Wow. Damn. Yes. Wish I had read this about five years ago, but no time like the present. Really learned a lot and loved Browne's cogent argumentation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    DAVAUR

    I couldn’t put this book down. The character development is absolutely amazing .

  29. 5 out of 5

    Riley Cavanaugh

    This book is one of my all time favorites just like Simone Browne is one of my all time fav writers and thinkers. One for the bookshelf!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adi

    Absolutely brilliant--a must read this year as we spend more time online. Understanding the relationship between surveillance and the formation of race is crucial for anti-racism work.

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