Through the Crosshairs: War, Visual Culture, and the Weaponized Gaze (War Culture)
Now that it has become so commonplace, we rarely blink an eye at camera footage framed by the crosshairs of a sniper’s gun or from the perspective of a descending smart bomb. But how did this weaponized gaze become the norm for depicting war, and how has it influenced public perceptions?
Through the Crosshairs traces the genealogy of this weapon’s-eye view across a wide range of genres, including news reports, military public relations images, action movies, video games, and social media posts. As he tracks how gun-camera footage has spilled from the battlefield onto the screens of everyday civilian life, Roger Stahl exposes how this raw video is carefully curated and edited to promote identification with military weaponry, rather than with the targeted victims. He reveals how the weaponized gaze is not only a powerful propagandistic frame, but also a prime site of struggle over the representation of state violence.
Praise for Through the Crosshairs: War, Visual Culture, and the Weaponized Gaze (War Culture)
"Stahl displays true dexterity with theory, offering observations both big and small that wonderfully merge abstract concepts with concrete examples of popular culture. His analyses are exceptionally adept, creative, clever, and enlightening."
— Matt Sienkiewicz
"Roger Stahl’s wild new book shows how military technology wages war on us all—even those of us lucky enough to be on the 'right side' of the border, the scope, or the screen. Engaging, fun, and filled with sharp insights into the militarization of popular culture, Through the Crosshairs is a blast."
— Joshua Reeves
"Immersing readers in the perilous visualities of smart bombs, snipers, and drones, Through the Crosshairs delivers a riveting analysis of the weaponized gaze and powerfully explicates the political stakes of screen culture's militarization. Packed with insights about the current conjuncture, the book positions Stahl as a leading critic of war and media."
— Lisa Parks
Spotlight on Through the Crosshairs on The War and Media
— The War and Media Network
"Chronicle of Higher Education weekly book list," by Nina C. Ayoub
— Chronicle of Higher Education