Building Surveillance: Three Chapters in U.S. History


Add to My Calendar Wednesday, October 13, 2021 6:00pm to 7:30pm


This online panel discussion is part of “The Normalizing Gaze: Surveillance from Drones to Phones,” a biweekly online speaker series from July–October 2021. In conjunction with Sam Duran’s High Line Plinth commission Untitled (drone), High Line Art, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), and NYU Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy are bringing together artists, activists, scholars, filmmakers, journalists, and more to demystify the twinned histories of surveillance and drone warfare in the U.S. and illuminate routine examples of surveillance in our daily lives.

Building Surveillance will focus on important chapters in U.S. surveillance history: analog surveillance in the early colonial era, FBI surveillance of Black and Muslim communities from the 1970s through the 1990s, and NYPD and federal surveillance of Muslim communities after 9/11. The speakers will then weave the chapters together, showing the historical, tactical, and social connections among agencies, approaches, and philosophies and how surveillance undergirds the need for control and fear of the other in U.S. society from its earliest days.

Register for the October 13 event, and find out more about the full series beginning in July and other resources on the High Line website.


Assia Boundaoui, filmmaker and investigative journalist and director/producer of The Feeling of Being Watched

Simone Browne, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

Omar Farah, Senior Staff Attorney and Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, Center for Constitutional Rights

Moderated by Lilly Irani, Associate Professor of Communication & Science Studies at University of California, San Diego

The Center for Constitutional Rights is excited to be a member of the advisory group working on public engagement for Sam Durant’s High Line Plinth commission Untitled (drone), along with Immigrant Defense Project, MediaJustice, Mijente, MPower Change, Reprieve, and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.).

Last modified 

September 28, 2021