Postdoctoral Fellows

Isaac Blacksin, 2021-23 Postdoctoral Fellow

Isaac Blacksin

2021–2023 Postdoctoral Fellow, Communication
PhD in History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz

Isaac Blacksin received his PhD from the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2021. Operating at the convergence of media anthropology, political theory, and literary analysis, Isaac’s work examines the practice and poetics of mass media, war and militarism in the Middle East, and the politics of knowledge. His research aims to challenge dominant conceptions of conflict by considering how authority is constituted representationally.

Isaac’s book project, Meaningful Violence, based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, explores how journalists produce knowledge of war and the frictions – social, political, epistemic – inherent to this representational labor. Tracking the practical routines and generic conventions of journalism in relation to social fantasies of faraway conflict, the book argues that contemporary war reportage transforms war from the effects of policy on populations to the effects of violence on the innocent.

Isaac has conducted fieldwork on journalism from Afghanistan to Libya, with support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Institute for Humanities Research at the University of California. Isaac’s teaching interests include the media history of the “war on terror,” theories and methods of representation, and the politics of news production. His work appears (or will appear) in boundary 2, Media, War & Conflict, Applied Journalism and Media Studies, and Kyoto Journal. Isaac’s latest publication is “Violence, Magic, Certainty: A Journalistic Worlding,” in Worlding Asia, forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan.