Law as Spectacular War: Eye in the Sky

Event

Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 312, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Faculty of Law welcomes Prof. Jothie Rajah, American Bar Foundation, for an Annie Macdonald Langstaff Workshop.

Abstract

Eye in the Sky (2015) is a critically acclaimed film featuring a gripping plot, a nuanced script, and stellar performances. In this paper, I argue that this film dazzles us with first, technology, and second, an acute questioning of law and legal systems, to distract us from two troubling corollaries of drone warfare. These corollaries are, first, de-democratizing and dehumanizing concealments and erasures that accompany drone warfare; and second, a re-making of lawful authority, and of nation-state sovereignty, through a dramatization of the (highly contested) international law principle, responsibility to protect. In the process, by rendering visible a particular set of actors, narratives, and questions, while concealing and erasing others, Eye in the Sky legitimises drone warfare and valorises its actors, institutions, practices, and technologies. As text, this film illuminates popular culture’s role in scripting and securing legitimacy for secrecy relating to both law and war.

About the speaker

Jothie Rajah is Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Chicago. Her work delves into the relationship between law, language, and power. Her first book, Authoritarian Rule of Law (CUP 2012), unpacks the conundrum of rule-of-law propriety accompanying repressions of civil and political rights in Singapore. Her current project is an effort to understand 9/11’s bearing on law by examining a range of texts, images, and events that populate our world. She was awarded her Ph.D by Melbourne Law School, and her LL.B by the National University of Singapore.