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Birkbeck academic wins major international book award

Dr Antoine Bousquet from Birkbeck’s Department of Politics won the STAIR Book Award for his recent monograph, The Eye of War: Military Perception from the Telescope to the Drone.

Dr Antoine Bousquet, Reader in International Relations, has been awarded the Science, Technology and Art in International Relations (STAIR) Book Award for his recent book, The Eye of War: Military Perception from the Telescope to the Drone.

The Eye of War offers a timely and ground-breaking genealogy of military perception that elucidates the socio-technical foundations of the contemporary condition of “fatal visibility,” in which anything that can be perceived can be targeted with lethal force. In addition to providing a history of global and increasingly granular practices of targeting, the book explores their wider implications for the landscape of international security in the twenty-first century and further reflects on the place of the human subjects within the late modern war machine.

Dr Bousquet discussed the timeliness of the book, saying: “We are fast converging upon a world in which anything that can be perceived can be accurately targeted with deadly force, wherever it may be. This capability is giving rise to practices of global targeting best exemplified by the recent use of drone aircraft for the conduct of targeted killings.

“Such military powers might seem to hold the promise greater security for those that wield them. Yet they are simultaneously participating in a definitive erosion of the traditional boundaries between spaces of war and peace, a trend that is only further accelerated by the radical dissimulation of would-be targets into the civilian societies of their adversaries.”

"I am honoured to be awarded this prize by my peers. At a time where the advances of science and technology are rapidly transforming our world and the place we occupy within it, we still need to better understand the ways in which these are inextricable from  the history and present of armed conflict.”

In making the award, the judging committee highlighted “the creativity of conceptual and empirical work, the ways in which the book fractures established ways of reading targeting, including critical engagements” and its exemplary “transversal work across disciplinary boundaries.”

The STAIR Book Award is conferred annually for the best book that develops interdisciplinary advances to how science, technology and arts permeate international politics. The award recognises a book that advances innovative research agendas on the intersections between international relations and the politics of science, technology and art.

The award was presented at the 60th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association held in Toronto last month.

Further Information

Dr Bousquet currently teaches on the following modules:

  • War and Modern Society (undergraduate)
  • War, Politics and Society (postgraduate)