Katherine Chandler

Dissertation Fellow
2013-2014
Katherine Chandler

The United States has spent over $25 billion in the last seventy years on research and development of the predecessors of today's unmanned aircraft systems. Katherine Chandler's dissertation in Rhetoric, "Drone Flights and Failures: Unmanning American Military Operations between 1936 and 1976," examines how the human and nonhuman components that variously comprise drone technologies map onto the politics of targeting, unmanning, and secrecy. Drawing from science and technology studies, new media, geography, and political theory, Chandler investigates the consequences of the so-called “unmanning” of flight accomplished by top-secret drone experiments and missions during World War II and the Cold War. Central to her analysis are tensions between who or what is human and how drones are contradistinguished from, yet intimately linked to, Americans they replace in military missions and the enemy other they survey and target.