06 February 2020

Daniel O'Gorman

‘None of the Guilty Will Be Spared’: Atmospheric terror in George Brant’s Grounded

Thursday, Feb  06, 6-8 pm | Room IG 4.201

George Brant’s play Grounded (2013) takes the form of a one-actress monologue in which a fighter pilot tells the story of her forced reskilling as a drone operator after giving birth. She recounts her story on an unadorned dark stage, but as the play progresses, it becomes clear that she is in a military prison cell, having refused orders to fire a missile because she has spotted a young girl of roughly the same age as her own running across her screen. Surveilled in her cell, the watcher has become the watched, her conscience costing her her liberty. This presentation will show how Brant’s play maps an alarming new environment of technologized terror enabled by drones. Drawing on thinkers of spatial violence and justice such as Eyal Weizman, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Achille Mbembe, it will argue that Grounded makes visible an atmospheric circumscription of liveable space that is most immediately obvious in the experience of those under the drones’ watch, but that is also, more surreptitiously, present in the Pilot’s domestic life, too: an acceleration in the surveillance of not only behaviour but also thought. If, as Ian Shaw has argued, drones enable capitalism to ‘enclose’ space in unprecedented new ways, then Brant’s play demands that its viewers pay close attention to this enclosure, laying out the urgent need to resist it by – to borrow from Doreen Massey – making a powerful case for ‘a commitment to that radical contemporaneity which is the condition of, and condition for, spatiality’.


Daniel O’Gorman is Vice Chancellor Research Fellow in English at Oxford Brookes University. He is the author of Fictions of the War on Terror: Difference and the Transnational 9/11 Novel (Palgrave, 2015) and co-editor, with Robert Eaglestone, of The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction (Routledge, 2019).


Past Events

2020

  • 29 January 2020: "In Conversation with Pavan Malreddy & Reading from Satin Island". Guest lecture by Tom McCarthy. More information here...


2019

  • 14 November 2019: "Resisting Activism: The Politics of Apathy and Disengagement in South Asian Women's Fiction". Guest Lecture by Maryam Mirza. More information here...
  • 11 July 2019: "Interlopers: Mapping Creative and Destructive Encounters between Asia and the West". Guest lecture by Elmar Schenkel. More information here...
  • 27 June 2019: ‘A real event in slow motion’: (Northern) Irish Poetry After Brexit’. Guest lecture by Colin Graham. More information here...
  • 23 May 2019: Narrating Globalisation, Contesting Politics of Space in the Work of Amitav Ghosh. Guest lecture by Florian Stadtler More information here...
  • 09 May 2019: Queer Writing in Uganda – The Struggle for Literary Space. Guest lecture by Beatrice Lamwaka. More information here...
  • 25 April 2019: Australia’s Postcolonial Turn. The Mabo Decision and Australian Fiction. Guest lecture by Geoffrey Rodoreda (Stuttgart). More information here ...

     
  • 19 January 2019: Towards a Narrative of (Re)Conciliation? Post-War Sri Lankan Literature in English. Guest by Birte Heidemann-Malreddy (Bremen). More information here ...
     

2018

  • 15 November 2018: The Return of the Admiral: Re-fashioning Swahili waters in the 'Dragonfly Sea'. AFRASO guest lecture by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Nairobi/Berlin). More information here ...

     
  • 1 November 2018: Soundtrack included: How Music Adds an Extra Layer of Storytelling to a Bildungsroman. Guest lecture by Campbell Jefferys. More information here ...

     
  • 24 October 2018: Bandhani, emankeeki and kanga – Three Sisters of an Asian-African Heritage. The Complexities of Gendered and Race Relations in the Work of Sultan Somjee. Guest lecture by Mala Pandurang (Mumbai). More information here ...

     
  • 7 June 2018: The negotiation of (im)mobility in Anglophone Maori short stories. Guest lecture by Leonie John. Download the flyer here ...
     

  • 17 May 2018: Transcultural competence and English literature classes. A reconstructive study on the use of fictions of migrations in the EFL classroom. Guest lecture by Annika Kreft. Download the flyer here ...
     

  • 3 May 2018: Ngũgĩ in India: A Transcultural Dialogue. Guest lecture by Venugopalrao Nellutla. More information here ...
     

  • 8 February 2018: Can the Slum-dweller Speak? Katherine Boo and the Postcolonial Politics of Literary Journalism. Guest lecture by Alex Tickell. More information here ...
     

  • 1 February 2017: Concepts of Development in Postcolonial Kenyan Writing. Guest lecture by Martina Kopf. More information here ...
     

2017

  • 7 December 2017: ‘Travelling Cultures’:  Reading Nineteenth-Century British Narratives about Movement and Mobility. Guest lecture by Nadia Butt (University of Giessen). More information here ...

     
  • 26 October 2017: In Transition: The Aesthetics and Politics of the ‘Across Factor’. In Transition lecture by Ranjan Ghosh (University of North Bengal). More information here ...
     

  • 4 - 6 October 2017: South Asian Diaspora International Reseacher’s Network (SADIRN) Graduate Academy 2017. More information here ...
     

  • 13 July 2017: Sovereignty On Camera: Documentary, Performance and War in Syria. Guest Lecture by Enrique Galvan-Alvarez. More information here ...

  • 6 July 2017: Towards Transcultural Ecology: Learning | Reading. Guest lecture by Roman Bartosch. More information here ...
     

  • 13 June 2017: Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants. AFRASO Lecture and Film Screening by Shihan de Silva More information here ...

  • 4 May 2017: Sperm Count. The Scoresbys and the North. In Transition lecture by Graham Huggan. More information here ...
     

2016

Older

  • 1-7 December, 2014, Dakar (Senegal): Photographs of 19th and 20th century Africa: Changing perspectives and object histories in school textbooks and digital archives. More information here ...
     

  • 21-23 September, 2014: Postgraduate Forum Reading Across Cultures. New Comparative Approaches in a Globalized World.  More information here ...