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Tracking Across the American Desert
Filmic Translations of American Landscapes to the Helmand Valley and Back
Andy Lee
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This paper explores the remapping of the American landscape as a mass reproducible visual medium onto foreign territories – particularly Afghanistan – during the Cold War. A series of films produced by the US Bureau of Mines and later screened in these territories are the sites of analysis. These films were the source material that applied the American landscape in its many forms, climates and uses to the US’s physical infrastructure projects during the time. As sights, these projects of infrastructure building are indicative of the colonial gaze US technicians used to reproduce these landscapes and their underlying systems of power and class around the world.

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