JB Brager holds a PhD from the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University. Their research and teaching interests include Black feminist theory, critical science and technology studies, and visual and cultural studies with an emphasis on photography and film. JB’s research looks at the ways in which the human as a category of recognition is made and unmade through images, histories of indigenous dispossession and genocide, and claims to the body in the afterlife of slavery and colonialism. Their work has appeared in the International Journal of Communication, The Holocaust in History and Memory, and The New Inquiry. Their comics and work on comics has appeared in the Jewish Comix Anthology, The Black Warrior Review, Shareable Magazine, and The LA Review of Books.
JB’s dissertation project, Bodies of Evidence is study of the transnational optics of anti-blackness across German and U.S. settler colonial projects, with a particular attention to the afterlives of visual discourses in present-day politics and memory. Bodies of Evidence takes case studies from the U.S., Germany, and German South West Africa, what is present-day Namibia, to track the trace of settler colonial and racial ideologies across seemingly discrete and ruptural violences. Bodies of Evidence applies interdisciplinary visual studies approaches to research on the Herero and Nama genocide—the visual archive of which is understudied, and adopts a transnational scope that places settler colonial violence alongside European genocide, rather than viewing these histories and archives as distinct or hierarchical. I analyze visual and material evidence of racial violence across sites using methods including critical media content analysis and visual close reading, with an emphasis on framing the positionality of the viewer in relation to questions about the gaze and modes of looking. I argue that we can transform the act of looking if we understand how the circulation and containment of colonial violences continue to shape ways of seeing.