Katherine Stewart is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters, The Atlantic, Bloomberg View, Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, The Nation and more.
Her earlier book is THE GOOD NEWS CLUB: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S STEALTH ASSAULT ON AMERICA’S CHILDREN. Research for that book led her to discover the insidious depth and breadth of Christian Nationalism and its determination to radically alter the democratic foundations of the United States of America. Indeed, she documents the global reach of the movement toward authoritarianism, intolerance, plutocracy and aggrandizement of money and power for the “elect”.
The result is her latest book, THE POWER WORSHIPPERS: INSIDE THE DANGEROUS RISE OF RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM, published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
In this edition of Forthright Radio, we focus on the final clause of the First Amendment, which addresses “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Governments around the world have developed ways to suppress the right that right, using diverse methods, including what are euphemistically called “non-lethal” or “less than lethal” weapons. Indeed, we live in an age of “the commodification of repression,” where global industries profit on the suppression of the right of the people to petition their government.
Anna Feigenbaum is currently a principal Academic in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University, where she teaches multimedia journalism and convenes their Civic Media Hub. In the Fall of 2017, Verso published her most recent bookTear Gas: From the Battlefields of WW1 to the Streets of Today. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities grant, she used archival and data storytelling methods to track the movement of tear gas from the trenches of WW1 to the streets of today, asking
‘How did it become normal to police communication with poison’?
Her earlier book, which she co-edited, is Protest camps in international context: Spaces, infrastructures and media of resistance. She has held positions at Rutgers University, the London School of Economics & Political Science, and the University of London. Her work has appeared in numerous, diverse journals from The Atlantic to The Guardian, Financial Times and Waging Nonviolence.
PIETÀ Gaza City, Gaza Strip May 14, 2018
The mother of Leila al-Ghandour, a Palestinian baby of eight months, holds her body at the morgue of al-Shifa hospital. According to the Palestinian health ministry Leila died of teargas inhalation during clashes in East Gaza the previous day
State troopers wear gas masks as tear gas is fired on about 600 marchers trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. They had begun a 50 mile march to the state capital, Montgomery, to protest discriminatory practices preventing black people from voting. State troopers used brutal force to push them back on what became known as “Bloody Sunday”. Charles Moore via Steven Kasher Gallery
Police surround an incapacitated man after throwing tear gas into the crowd of protesters, 1968, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Western Historical Manuscript Collection
Photographer Nacio Jan Brown captured a moment that shocked many: a National Guard helicopter spraying tear gas on students and antiwar protesters in Sproul Plaza on May 20, 1969 — in some sense extending “the front” from Vietnam onto college campuses. The juxtaposition of the military-grade helicopter with the Campanile — the unofficial symbol of the UC Berkeley campus — helped make this photograph an iconic image of the suppression of campus protest. The demonstrators had gathered to commemorate the death of James Rector, who had been shot by police while on the rooftop of Granma Books on May 15, during a protest over the disposition of People’s Park.
Two street stencils on walls in Istanbul Inspired by the protests in Taksim Gezi Park, Istanbul, the summer of 2013, when CNN Turkey aired a penguin documentary, while CNN International ran live coverage of the protests.
Sites of protest and political contention are often shaped by ‘other media’. Anna Feigenbaum looks beyond taken-for-granted media devices and practices and returns to the foundational roots of Communication Theory’s ‘the medium and the message’.
In addition to smartphones, Facebook pages, political posters and live-streaming laptops, communication involves all kinds of other technologies. Such “other media” objects include the fences, walls, and barricades, that become sites of and for communication. This ‘other media’ also includes ‘container technologies’ like shoeboxes or sound grenades, which function as storage devices, as well as re-crafted objects that become transformed through practices of disobedient design.
#teargasID The Riot ID Project
Who are the World’s Heaviest Tear Gas Users? Our 2015 Mapping the Media project on Tear Gas is now live! Check out the maps on our BU Civic Media Hub website.
Anna Feigenbaum, author of Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today, in conversation with L.A. Kauffman, Mark Bray, Ali Issa, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary. At Verso Books in Brooklyn, November 8, 2017.