Friday, October 20, 2017 (All day) to Saturday, October 21, 2017 (All day)
Trinity United Methodist and Duke Divinity School. (Map)
(919) 613-5323

drone in front of U.S. flagOnline registration is closed, but you are still welcome to attend. Please arrange for your own parking and meals.

Military operations using drones are not heralded as victories, or covered widely in the mainstream press. As a result, the use of drones in warfare is largely invisible to people in the U.S. Unless a person actively seeks out information about the use of drones in warfare, this form of war remains invisible to people in whose name the operations are carried out. This conference will feature speakers from different areas of expertise on the problems with and the ramifications of the use of drones in warfare. In other words, this is not a conference to debate the use of drones in warfare, but a conference to encourage students, scholars, and citizens to be informed about problems related to the use of drones in warfare. This is a conference for people of different faiths and people who do not profess a faith, people who already are concerned about the ramifications of using drones in warfare, and people who are basically unaware of the use of drones in warfare. There will be time to eat together, to ask questions of one another, and to learn about further resources. 

 This conference is made possible with support from:


Pre-Conference Event: Sunday, Oct. 15 at 12:30 p.m.

Trinity United Methodist Church, Durham, N.C.

Viewing of documentary Wounds of Waziristan, and discussion with documentarian Madiha Tahir, sponsored by the Board of Church and Society, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. All are welcome. A light lunch will be served.

Friday, Oct. 20

Trinity United Methodist Church, Durham, N.C.

3:00 p.m. Registration and Welcome
3:30-5:45 p.m.

Session 1

Murtaza Hussain
Journalist, The Intercept

Pardiss Kebriaei
Center for Constitutional Rights

Marjorie Cohn
Professor Emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law

6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30-8:15 p.m.

Session 2

Kara Slade
Theologian and former aerospace engineer

8:15-9:00 p.m. Panel with Hussain, Kebriaei, Cohen, and Slade

Saturday, Oct. 21

Duke Divinity School

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Session 3

Benjamin Friedman
Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute

10:30 a.m. Break and Book Table- sponsered by Duke University Press
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Session 4

Lisa Hajjar
Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Lisa Parks
Professor, Comparative Media Studies, MIT

Caren Kaplan
Professor of American Studies, UC Davis

12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:45-3:00 p.m.

Session 5

Jeff Matsler
Bioethicist, U.S. Army

Lisa Ling
Former technical sergeant in‎ the U.S. Air Force



Murtaza Hussain

Murtaza Hussain is a journalist and political commentator. His work focuses on human rights, foreign policy, and cultural affairs. Murtaza’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon, and elsewhere.

Kara N. Slade

Photo of Kara SladeKara N. Slade is a Ph.D. student in Christian theology and ethics in the Graduate Program in Religion at Duke. A former specialist in the dynamics of nonlinear and complex systems, she earned the B.S.E., M.S., and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering before joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a research engineer. Her current research project focuses on Barthian and Kierkegaardian engagements with modern, scientific accounts of time. Ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church, she also serves as vicar of St. David's Episcopal Church in Laurinburg, N.C.

Marjorie Cohn

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar, political analyst, and social critic who writes books and articles, makes media appearances, and lectures throughout the world about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Her blogs appear on Huffington Post and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio. An updated edition of her most recent book, "Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues," will be published this summer. Her articles are archived at

Caren Kaplan

Photo of Caren KaplanCaren Kaplan is professor of American studies at the University of California at Davis. Her research draws on cultural geography, landscape art, and military history to explore the ways in which undeclared as well as declared wars produce representational practices of atmospheric politics. Selected publications include Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above (Duke 2018), Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke 2017), Introduction to Women's StudiesGender in a Transnational World (McGraw-Hill 2001/2005), Between Woman and Nation: Transnational Feminisms and the State (Duke 1999), Questions of TravelPostmodern Discourses of Displacement (Duke 1996) Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices (Minnesota 1994) as well as two major multi-media scholarly works, Dead Reckoning and Precision Targets.

Lisa Parks

Photo of Lisa Parks

Lisa Parks is professor of comparative media studies and director of the Global Technologies and Cultures Lab at MIT. Her research is focused in three areas: media, militarization and surveillance; critical studies of media infrastructures and satellite technologies; and media cultures. She is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP, 2015) and Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror (Routledge, forthcoming). She is also co-editor of Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke UP, 2017), Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of Illinois, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures (Rutgers UP, 2012), and Planet TV: A Global Television Reader (NYU Press, 2003). Parks has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a principal investigator on major research grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of State, supporting research in Mongolia, Turkey, and Zambia. Before joining the MIT faculty in 2017, she was professor of film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she also served as the director of the Center for Information Technology and Society (2012-2015).

Lisa Hajjar

Lisa Hajjar is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with courtesy appointments in Global and International Studies, and Middle East Studies. She has an M.A. in Arab Studies with a concentration in international affairs from Georgetown University (1986) and a Ph.D. in sociology from The American University (1995). She held a distinguished visiting appointment as the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut from 2014–2015, and served as the director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at AUB from 2015–2016. Hajjar’s publications include Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, 2005) and Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights (Routledge 2013). She is currently working on a book tentatively titled The War in Court: The Legal Campaign against US Torture in the “War on Terror.” Her work focuses mainly on issues relating to law and conflict, military courts and occupations, human rights and international law, and torture and targeted killing.

Benjamin Friedman

Benjamin H. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies. He writes about U.S. defense politics, focusing on strategy, budgeting, and war. He has co-edited two books and has published in International Security, Political Science Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, the Hill, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor, and various other journals. Ben is a graduate of Dartmouth College, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the MIT, and an adjunct lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

Pardiss Kebriaei

Pardiss Kebriaei is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging U.S. government abuses in the national security context. She was lead counsel for CCR in Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta, which challenged the killings of three American citizens in U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, and Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, which challenged the authorization for the targeting of an American citizen added to secret government “kill lists.” She represents current and former Guantanamo detainees, including Ghaleb Al-Bihani, a Yemeni man cleared for release through the government’s Periodic Review Board process after having been designated as a “forever” detainee, but who remains detained without charge, and another Yememi client who, in 2009, was in the last group of detainees to be repatriated to Yemen. She represents the families of two detainees who died in Guantanamo in 2006, whose reported “suicides” have been thrown into doubt by whistleblowers and investigative journalists, in the cases Al-Zahrani v. United States in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and, previously, in Al-Zahrani v. Rumsfeld in U.S. federal courts. She represents Fahad Hashmi, who pled to charges of material support for terrorism after three years in pre-trial solitary confinement and Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) and was subsequently held in the Administrative Maximum prison in Colorado, the nation’s federal “supermax” prison. She advocates on behalf of other cases as part of the No Separate Justice Campaign, a grassroots initiative formed to shed light on unjust domestic terrorism prosecutions. Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights she worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has also taught courses at Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges of the City University of New York. She graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her recent writing includes "Life After Guantanamo," Harper's Magazine, April 2015; "The Torture that Flourishes from Gitmo to an American Supermax," The Nation, Janunary 2014;  on the hunger strike at Gitmo, “We are dying a slow death here,” MSNBC, April 13, 2013; and "U.S. Targeted Killing Policy: A Response to Jeh Johnson," Yale Law & Policy Review, 2013. She has appeared on many outlets, including PBS News Hour, CBS Evening News, Democracy Now!, and MSNBC.

Jeff S. Matsler

Chaplain (Major) Jeff S. Matsler (M.Div., Th.M., S.T.M.) is the U.S. Army’s bioethicist and an adjunct professor of ethics at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS). Chaplain Matsler’s education includes advanced degrees from Yale, Duke, and Southern Methodist University. An alumnus and former assistant director of Yale’s Bioethics Institute, Matsler has guest lectured at the Yale School of Medicine and regularly teaches a summer course at Yale in military bioethics. As the U.S. Army’s bioethicist, he annually hosts two national educational events on bioethics at Walter Reed: The Medical Ethics Short Course and The Defense Medical Ethics Symposium. He lectures regularly around the nation for MEDCOM, academic communities, and community-based healthcare organizations on the importance and nuances of medical ethics from the military and veteran perspectives. His work on military medical ethics appears in many journal publications. Matsler’ most recent combat deployment was as brigade chaplain for the 15th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Bliss, Texas (2012-2013).  Prior to that (2010 - 2012) Matsler served as a member of the in-patient psychiatric interdisciplinary team at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.  He has also served at the Center and School of Excellence at Fort Eustis, Va. Combat deployments include Afghanistan (OEF ’08-09) as a brigade chaplain with the 101st Infantry Division and battalion chaplain as a member of Operation Desert Thunder during the Gulf War. Matsler participated in Operation OKBOMB Rescue and Relief (Oklahoma City Bombing) in 1994. Prior to active-duty service, he was a clinician with the VA Hospital and served on the National Taskforce for the VA’s Reconfiguration of Long Term Psychiatric Care (1994-1995).  His military education includes the Army Civilian Schooling’s Fellowship in Bioethics (Yale University), the Brigade Chaplain Course, the Chaplain Captain Career Course, Chaplain Officer Basic Course, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing / Management Training (CISD/CISM), Spiritual Reintegration Training (SRT) and Spiritual Resiliency and Readiness Training (SRRT) Courses. His military awards include the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. Matsler is endorsed by the General Board of Higher Education of the United Methodist Church and is a member of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities (ASBH). 

Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling is a former technical sergeant in‎ the U.S. Air Force. She is featured in the heralded documentary National Bird, which, according to The Washington Post, is “artful, profoundly unsettling.” In an article for The Guardian, Ling noted how little the public knew about the U.S. drone program and its consequences. She explained that the narrative around drones had been sanitized, saying, “As citizens we need to have some conversation about the things that are in the dark … The people who are out of the picture are the people who are on the ground within the drone program, and the victims.”


Online registration is closed, but you are still welcome to attend and register on-site. Please arrange for your own parking and meals.

Registration cost: $5 for students; $25 for non-students.


Parking on Oct. 20 is available in the Chapel Hill St. Lot, a short walk from Trinity UMC.

Chapel Hill Street Parking Garage
326 E. Chapel Hill Street
Durham, N. C.  27701

Participants leaving the lot after 7 p.m. will not have to pay for parking, as the exit will be open. 

Parking on Oct. 21 is available in the Bryan Center parking garage. Registered participants who request a parking voucher will pick up their voucher at registration on Friday, Oct. 20 or upon arrival on Oct. 21. Participants who did not request parking are still able to park in the Bryan Center, but will be responsible for paying for their own parking.