Fall 2017

Thursday Lecture Series

World in a Can: Spy Satellites and Military Preparedness, 1946–1986

  • Matthew Hersch, Visiting ACLS Fellow (2017-2018), Columbia University
  • Whitney Laemmli, Lecturer in History, Columbia University

Histories of the Cold War have connected America’s first spy satellites to the increasing inability of the United States to monitor the Soviet ballistic missile program during the late-1950s.  The technology of reconnaissance satellites, though, predates both the rockets necessary to loft them into orbit and the missiles the satellites later detected.  Advocates of spy satellites never viewed the technology simply as a solution to any single “intelligence gap,” but as a novel intelligence resource that would do what no previous technology could: photograph whole nations during peacetime.  Intended only as an “interim” technology until better platforms were invented, the first film-return spy satellites became a permanent fixture of national defense and helped define the parameters of the Nuclear Age. >>

Thursday Lecture Series

(Re)Making Political Subjects: Interrogating Gender Quotas and Women’s Representation in Angola

  • Selina Makana, IRWGS Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2020), Columbia University
  • Joelle M. Abi-Rached, Lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), Columbia University

This talk examines how women in post-war Angola participate and are represented in electoral politics. Starting from the premise that the very idea of democratic politics is gendered, I argue that examining electoral politics, in particular the organization of political parties, campaigns and elections financing, from feminist and sociological perspectives can help explain the (limited) participation of women in national politics. >>