front cover of Ecologies of Harm
Ecologies of Harm
Rhetorics of Violence in the United States
Megan Eatman
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
Ecologies of Harm: Rhetorics of Violence in the United States examines violent spectacles and their quotidian manifestations in order to better understand violence’s cultural work and persistence. Starting with the supposition that violence is communicative andmeant to “send a message”—be it to deter, to scare, or to threaten—Megan Eatman goes one step further to argue that violence needs to be understood on a deeper level: as direct, structural, cultural, and constitutive across modes, a formulation that requires rethinking its rhetorical aims as less about conscious persuasion and more about the gradual shaping of public identity.
While Eatman looks to examples of violent spectacles to make her case (lynching, capital punishment, and torture in the War on Terror), it is in her analysis of more mundane responses to these forms of violence (congressional debates, court documents, visual art, and memorial performance) where the key to her argument lies—as she shows how circulating violence in these ways produces violent rhetorical ecologies that facilitate some modes of being while foreclosing others. Through this ecological approach, Ecologies of Harm offers a new understanding of the debates surrounding legacies of violence, examines how rhetoric and violence function together, and explores implications of their entanglement for antiviolence work.

front cover of The End of Innocence?
The End of Innocence?
Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism
Andrée Feillard, Rémy Madinier
National University of Singapore Press, 2013
Long cited as a model of harmonious cohabitation between different religions, the most populous Muslim country in the world until recently occupied a special place in the Western imagination. Indonesia, home to a peaceful version of Islam, offered a reass

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Epidemic Empire
Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror, 1817–2020
Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb
University of Chicago Press, 2021

Terrorism is a cancer, an infection, an epidemic, a plague. For more than a century, this metaphor has figured insurgent violence as contagion in order to contain its political energies. In Epidemic Empire, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb shows that this trope began in responses to the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and tracks its tenacious hold through 9/11 and beyond. The result is the first book-length study to approach the global War on Terror from a postcolonial literary perspective. 

Raza Kolb assembles a diverse archive from colonial India, imperial Britain, French and independent Algeria, the postcolonial Islamic diaspora, and the neoimperial United States. Anchoring her book are studies of four major writers in the colonial-postcolonial canon: Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Albert Camus, and Salman Rushdie. Across these sources, she reveals the tendency to imagine anticolonial rebellion, and Muslim insurgency specifically, as a virulent form of social contagion. Exposing the long history of this broken but persistent narrative, Epidemic Empire is a major contribution to the rhetorical history of our present moment.


front cover of Equal Justice in the Balance
Equal Justice in the Balance
America's Legal Responses to the Emerging Terrorist Threat
Raneta Lawson Mack and Michael J. Kelly
University of Michigan Press, 2004
"We are in difficult times for the protection of our liberties. Nonetheless, citizens are showing an increased willingness to resist the erosion of the U.S. Constitution. . . . Lawson Mack and Kelly stress the importance of not giving up these fundamental rights and conclude with a message of optimism, noting an increased backlash against the administration's more draconian measures. Although the landscape is still quite bleak, change is in the air."
-Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights, from the foreword

"A compelling and sophisticated critique of the U.S. government's post-9/11 actions. Mack and Kelly set the stage with the historical perspective on America's response to terrorism and the assessment of terrorist threats, before launching into a comprehensive analysis of the USA Patriot Act. Their hard-hitting approach and easy-to-read style makes for a fascinating treatment of the government's legislative and executive response to the attacks."
-Michael P. Scharf, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

With its sweeping critique of the USA Patriot Act and the Bush administration's maneuvers in pursuit of terrorists, Equal Justice in the Balance is a sobering and exacting look at American legal responses to terrorism, both before and after 9/11.

The authors detail wide-ranging and persuasive evidence that American antiterrorism legislation has led to serious infringements of our civil rights. They show us how deviations from our fundamental principles of fairness and justice in times of heightened national anxiety-whether the Red Scare, World War II, or the War on Terrorism-have resulted in overreaction and excess, later requiring apologies and reparations to those victimized by a paranoia-driven justice system.

While terrorist attacks-especially on a large scale and on American soil-damage our national pride and sense of security, the authors offer powerful arguments for why we must allow our judicial infrastructure, imperfect as it is, to respond without undue interference from the politics of anger and vengeance.


front cover of Escalation in the War in Ukraine
Escalation in the War in Ukraine
Lessons Learned and Risks for the Future
Bryan Frederick
RAND Corporation, 2023
This report evaluates the potential for further escalation in the conflict in Ukraine, including the prospects for escalation to Russian nuclear use. The report is intended to inform U.S. and NATO policymakers as they consider how to avoid further escalation of the conflict while assisting Ukraine in its efforts to defeat the Russian invasion and to better inform the public debate around these issues.

front cover of An Essay for Ezra
An Essay for Ezra
Racial Terror in America
Grant Farred
University of Minnesota Press, 2021

An intensely personal, and philosophical, account of why white America’s racial unconscious is not so unconscious

An Essay for Ezra is a critique of terror that begins but by no means ends with the presidency of Donald J. Trump. A father addresses his son and a boy shares his observations in a dynamic dialogistic exchange that is a commentary of and for its time, taking the measure of racial terror and of white supremacy both in our moment and as a historical phenomenon.

Framed through the experiences of the author’s biracial son, An Essay for Ezra is intensely personal while also powerfully universal. Drawing on the social and political thought of James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Grant Farred examines the temptation and the perils of essentialism and the need to discriminate—to engage the black mind as much as the black body. With that dialectic as his starting point, Farred engages the ideas of Jameson, Barthes, Derrida, Adorno, Kant, and other thinkers to derive an ethics of being in our time of social peril. His antiessentialist racial analysis is salient, especially when he deploys Dave Chappelle as a counterpoint to Baldwin—and Chappelle’s brilliant comic philosophic voice jabs at both racial and gender identity.

Standing apart for its willingness to explore terror in all its ambivalence, this theoretical reflection on racism, knowledge, ethics, and being in our neofascist present brings to bear the full weight of philosophical inquiry and popular cultural critique on black life in the United States.


front cover of The Ethics of Interrogation
The Ethics of Interrogation
Professional Responsibility in an Age of Terror
Paul Lauritzen
Georgetown University Press, 2016

Can harsh interrogation techniques and torture ever be morally justified for a nation at war or under the threat of imminent attack? In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist strikes, the United States and other liberal democracies were forced to grapple once again with the issue of balancing national security concerns against the protection of individual civil and political rights. This question was particularly poignant when US forces took prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq who arguably had information about additional attacks. In this volume, ethicist Paul Lauritzen takes on ethical debates about counterterrorism techniques that are increasingly central to US foreign policy and discusses the ramifications for the future of interrogation.

Lauritzen examines how doctors, lawyers, psychologists, military officers, and other professionals addressed the issue of the appropriate limits in interrogating detainees. In the case of each of these professions, a vigorous debate ensued about whether the interrogation policy developed by the Bush administration violated codes of ethics governing professional practice. These codes are critical, according to Lauritzen, because they provide resources for democracies and professionals seeking to balance concerns about safety with civil liberties, while also shaping the character of those within these professional guilds.

This volume argues that some of the techniques used at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere were morally impermissible; nevertheless, the healthy debates that raged among professionals provide hope that we may safeguard human rights and the rule of law more effectively in the future.


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