For the Humanities

Julie A. Carlson and Elisabeth Weber

in Speaking about Torture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242245
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242283 | DOI:
For the Humanities

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The introduction specifies why humanistic inquiry is vital to social policy legislation and what it contributes to anti-torture advocacy. It highlights the significance of Poems from Guantánamo and the admission by Pentagon officials that poems by detainees presented a special risk to national security in their content and form as an occasion to illustrate the capacity of poetic discourse to witness to experiences of torture and to the limits that they foreground. More broadly, it argues that policy discussions on torture need to incorporate the reconceptualizations of subjectivity, opposition, law, and representation that humanist discourse, especially post-1945, has pursued. Otherwise, the representation and litigation of torture are impossible because of the threats to language, community, memory, and consciousness that experiences of torture entail. Selections from Poems from Guantánamo are read as exemplifying these claims.

Keywords: Humanist inquiry; Trauma; Hauntology; Euphemism; Poems from Guantánamo; Jacques Derrida; Jean Améry

Chapter.  6403 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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