The Abu Ghraib Effect
Stephen F. Eisenman Reaktion Books, 2010 Library of Congress N8253.T66E38 2007 | Dewey Decimal 704.94936564
The photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib prison aroused worldwide condemnation—or did they? Opinion polls showed that most citizens of the United States were unmoved by the images. One reason for this relative lack of a public outcry may be the nature of the Abu Ghraib pictures themselves and what Stephen F. Eisenman terms “the Abu Ghraib effect.” By showing prisoners engaging in sexual acts, Eisenman asserts, the photos make the men look like enthusiastic participants in their own interrogation and torture. Further, these scenes repeat an ancient stereotype: the “pathos formula,” in which victims of war are shown welcoming their own punishment.
In this highly original analysis, Eisenman shows the pathos formula at work in the Abu Ghraib photos, and he describes its long history, exploring the motif’s appearance in imperial Greek and Roman Art, in the sculpture and painting of Michelangelo, and in Baroque paintings of saints and martyrs. The author also describes the equally long history of artistic protest against the formula by such diverse artists as William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, and Leon Golub.
The Abu Ghraib Effect reveals how the pathos formula has dulled public responses to images of torture, and also urges a more effective use of political images in the fight against the so-called “war on terror.”
“Eisenman’s concepts and questions constitute a challenging discourse on politics and art.” —Art in America
“This brilliantly argued volume should be read by all art historians.”—Art Book
“The Abu Ghraib Effect . . . traverses revolutionary terrain in its unraveling of the function of artistic metaphor in the justification of imperialist power.” —Media–Culture Review
Sensational media coverage of groups like Heaven's Gate, the People's Temple, and Synanon is tinged with the suggestion that only crazy, lonely, or gullible people join cults. Cults attract people on the fringe of society, people already on the edge. Contrary to this public perception, Marybeth Ayella reveals how anyone seeking personal change in an intense community setting is susceptible to the lure of group influence. The book begins with the candid story of how one keen skeptic was recruited by Moonies in the 1970s -- the author herself.
Ayella's personal experience fueled her interest in studying the cult phenomenon. This book focuses on her analysis of one community in southern California, The Center for Feeling Therapy, which opened in 1971 as an offshoot of Arthur Janov's Primal Scream approach. The group attracted mostly middle-class, college-educated clients interested in change through intense sessions led by licensed therapists. At the time of the Center's collapse in 1980, there were three hundred individuals living in the therapeutic community and another six hundred outpatients.
Through interviews with twenty-one former patients, the author develops a picture of the positive changes they sought, the pressures of group living, and the allegations of abuse against therapists. Many patients contended that they were beaten, made to strip before the group and to engage in forced sex, forced to have abortions and give up children, and coerced to donate money and to work in business affiliated with the Center.
The close of the Center brought yet more trauma to the patients as they struggled to readjust to mainstream life. Ayella recounts the stories of these individuals, again and again returning to the question of how personal identity is formed and the power of social influences. This book is a key to understanding how "normal" people wind up in cults.
Life Interrupted introduces us to survivors of human trafficking who are struggling to get by and make homes for themselves in the United States. Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. At once scholarly and accessible, her book links these firsthand accounts to global economic inequities and under-regulated and unprotected workplaces that routinely exploit migrant laborers in the United States. Brennan contends that today's punitive immigration policies undermine efforts to fight trafficking. While many believe trafficking happens only in the sex trade, Brennan shows that across low-wage labor sectors—in fields, in factories, and on construction sites—widespread exploitation can lead to and conceal forced labor. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform.
All royalties from this book will be donated to the nonprofit Survivor Leadership Training Fund administered through the Freedom Network.
Violence against women is one of the most insidious social ills facing the world today. Yet governmental response is inconsistent, ranging from dismissal to aggressive implementation of policies and programs to combat the problem. In her comparative study of thirty-six democratic governments, Laurel Weldon examines the root causes and consequences of the differences in public policy from Northern Europe to Latin America.
She reveals that factors that often influence the development of social policies do not determine policies on violence against women. Neither economic level, religion, region, nor the number of women in government determine governmental responsiveness to this problem. Weldon demonstrates, for example, that Nordic governments take no more action to combat violence against women than Latin American governments, even though the Swedish welfare state is often considered a leader in social policy, particularly with regard to women’s issues.
Instead, the presence of independently organized, active women’s movements plays a greater role in placing violence against women on the public agenda. The breadth and scope of governmental response is greatly enhanced by the presence of an office dedicated to promoting women’s status.
Weldon closes with practical lessons and insights to improve government action on violence against women and other important issues of social justice and democracy.
In Reign of Virtue, Miranda Pollard explores the effects of military defeat and Nazi occupation on French articulations of gender in wartime France.
Drawing on governmental archives, historical texts, and propaganda, Pollard explores what most historians have ignored: the many ways in which Vichy's politicians used gendered images of work, family, and sexuality to restore and maintain political and social order. She argues that Vichy wanted to return France to an illustrious and largely mythical past of harmony, where citizens all knew their places and fulfilled their responsibilities, where order prevailed. The National Revolution, according to Pollard, replaced the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity with work, family, and fatherland, making the acceptance of traditional masculine and feminine roles a key priority. Pollard shows how Vichy's policies promoted the family as the most important social unit of a new France and elevated married mothers to a new social status even as their educational, employment, and reproductive rights were strictly curtailed.
Mass deportation is at the forefront of political discourse in the United States. The Shadow of the Wall shows in tangible ways the migration experiences of hundreds of people, including their encounters with U.S. Border Patrol, cartels, detention facilities, and the deportation process. Deportees reveal in their heartwrenching stories the power of family separation and reunification and the cost of criminalization, and they call into question assumptions about human rights and federal policies.
The authors analyze data from the Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS), a mixed-methods, binational research project that offers socially relevant, rigorous social science about migration, immigration enforcement, and violence on the border. Using information gathered from more than 1,600 post-deportation surveys, this volume examines the different faces of violence and migration along the Arizona-Sonora border and shows that deportees are highly connected to the United States and will stop at nothing to return to their families. The Shadow of the Wall underscores the unintended social consequences of increased border enforcement, immigrant criminalization, and deportation along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Alison Elizabeth Lee
Daniel E. Martínez
Prescott L. Vandervoet
In Slavery Unseen, Lamonte Aidoo upends the narrative of Brazil as a racial democracy, showing how the myth of racial democracy elides the history of sexual violence, patriarchal terror, and exploitation of slaves. Drawing on sources ranging from inquisition trial documents to travel accounts and literature, Aidoo demonstrates how interracial and same-sex sexual violence operated as a key mechanism of the production and perpetuation of slavery as well as racial and gender inequality. The myth of racial democracy, Aidoo contends, does not stem from or reflect racial progress; rather, it is an antiblack apparatus that upholds and protects the heteronormative white patriarchy throughout Brazil's past and on into the present.
“Welcome to the European family!” When East European countries joined the European Union under this banner after 1989, they agreed to the free movement of goods, services, capital, and persons. In this book, Anca Parvulescu analyzes an important niche in this imagined European kinship: the traffic in women, or the circulation of East European women in West Europe in marriage and as domestic servants, nannies, personal attendants, and entertainers. Analyzing film, national policies, and an impressive range of work by theorists from Giorgio Agamben to Judith Butler, she develops a critical lens through which to think about the transnational continuum of “women’s work.”
Parvulescu revisits Claude Lévi-Strauss’s concept of kinship and its rearticulation by second-wave feminists, particularly Gayle Rubin, to show that kinship has traditionally been anchored in the traffic in women. Reading recent cinematic texts that help frame this, she reveals that in contemporary Europe, East European migrant women are exchanged to engage in labor customarily performed by wives within the institution of marriage. Tracing a pattern of what she calls Americanization, Parvulescu argues that these women thereby become responsible for the labor of reproduction. A fascinating cultural study as much about the consequences of the enlargement of the European Union as women’s mobility, The Traffic in Women’s Work questions the foundations of the notion of Europe today.