Roughly the first third of this ambitious, well-argued monograph sketches out a genealogy of contemporary American counterinsurgency and global war-making regimes. Kapadia situates his book in the post–Cold War era during which American militarism expanded into the Greater Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine) and at the same time increased regimes of surveillance on the domestic front. An accomplishment in its own right, this part of the book also serves as a foundation for what arguably becomes the book's main act: a nuanced exploration of artistic practices of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian diasporic artists.

In the introductory section, Kapadia outlines several important terms that shape the book as a whole. For instance, the titular “insurgent aesthetics” is a theoretical framework that (in part) refers to the way the artists mobilize, and in the same stroke undermine, “official” archives through their...

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