• Sami Khatib at Summer School as School 2018
Sami Khatib: Partisan Epistemologies: From the World Picture of Violence to the Image of Truth

Sami Khatib at Summer School as School 2018
July 26, 2018, 20:00
Venue: Boxing Club

Summer School as School
July 16 – August 2, 2018

Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina is pleased to announce the presentation “Partisan epistemologies: from the world picture of violence to the image of truth” by Sami Khatib, part of Summer School as School 2018 Public Program.

Reflecting on the relation of vision and violence, the talk discusses two opposing yet mutually dependent perspectives that shape the political economy of seeing: (1) scientific knowledge as the secular heir of the totalizing, yet unattainable ‘God’s-eye-view’, and (2) visual empathy as the subjectifying fantasy of taking and/or representing the perspective of the victimized Other. While the empathizing perspective serves the subject of the ‘Human Rights Discourse’ (from peacekeeping to peacemaking), the totalizing perspective produces a “world picture” functioning as the visual operator of contemporary imperialism, neocolonial capitalism, and neoliberal regimes of control and discipline. In other words, today’s biopolitical regimes of seeing are split between the empathizing perspective of humanitarian avatars like Bill Gates and the totalizing eye of a GPS guided drone, promising real-time control, transparency and intervention. The challenge is to understand this split as constitutive and think of a third perspective that can avoid both the epistemic relativism of visual empathy and the totalizing viewpoints of “hard science” materialized in techno-dystopian networks of biopower. Here, Walter Benjamin’s critique of historicism and Donna Haraway’s theory of “Situated Knowledges” intersect, allowing for a third, that is, partial perspective, bound to partisan epistemologies (be it the “tradition of the oppressed,” the “proletariat,” or “cyborgs”).

Sami Khatib holds an M.A. in Media Studies and Philosophy (2004) and a Ph.D. degree in Media Studies (2013) from Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). After finishing his appointment as an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Arts and Humanities at the American University of Beirut (2015/16), he joined the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at AUB as a Whittlesey Visiting Assistant Professor. His work spans the fields of Aesthetic Theory, Critical Theory, Media Theory and Cultural Studies with a special focus on the thought of Walter Benjamin. His area of specialty is in 19th and 20th century Continental Philosophy with an emphasis on early Frankfurt School, Kant, German Idealism, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud and post-Structuralism. He is author of a book on Walter Benjamin (Marburg: Tectum, 2013) with an forthcoming English translation, titled “'Teleology without End' Walter Benjamin’s Dislocation of the Messianic”. Prior to his appointments at AUB, he taught Cultural and Media Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2012, he was awarded a residency fellowship from the interdisciplinary Jan van Eyck Academie, a post-academic institute for research and production in the fields of fine art, design and theory, based in Maastricht (NL). He has published widely in international journals and volumes.