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Witnessing Whiteness: A Vertigo Story

Sat, September 2, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Sheraton Boston, 3, Fairfax A


Phonemic awareness of the slant rhyme between whiteness and witness informs this paper analyzing proprioception in domestic violence courtroom. In Anglo-American law courtroom procedures such as the manual passing and digital projection of evidentiary photographs disrupt the temporal equilibrium of judicial proceedings and result in a feeling of vertigo that demarcates the boundaries of evidence publication and witness-spoken testimony. This paper brings together three literatures—antique scientific definitions of vertigo, the established clinical link between vertigo and anxiety, and research on colorblindness—to bear upon what Sheila Jasanoff shows are the ways the law uses science to construct techno-scientific objects and witness credibility. Reading “in the break” between witness and whiteness, this ethnography of courtroom evidentiary circulation practices and physical therapies for vestibular imbalance expands scientific theories of affect beyond the external configuration of the face.


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