So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Well, thanks to Savage Minds for hosting my one month of posting, and for putting up with a lot of controversy and – er, heated discussion. I had a great time.

If I’ve ruffled some feathers, well – I’m sorry. Oh, not really. Maybe I’ve drawn some attention to the intensely complicated problem that interrogation and torture represent, and pushed people to think beyond Patai, Hersh and Lagouranis. There are so many dimensions to this problem, and even though I’ve only been digging into this for a few months now, I’ve come to believe that anthropology can have something unique and compelling to say about cultures-of-torture/culture-in-torture. Our perspectives can (and should) add nuance to the rapidly expanding body of rock-solid critique being done by psychologists, journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists. The starting material for developing that critique is just a mouse-click away (or several thousand, depending on how much time you want to spend on this). I expect there are SM readers who would be far better at doing this work than I am, and who could generate some stunning research.

Because I am not over my obsession with torture and interrogation, I was inspired to start my own blog to help me sort through my thoughts and, hopefully, to get feedback. I’m posting a couple of times a week – so far, it’s mostly overview and general thoughts about working with the torture documents – but I’ll start digging into specific topics in the coming weeks, and posting short essays about what I’ve learned about detention, torture, interrogation, prisoner abuse, and other such issues.

So long, and thanks for the soapbox. It’s been real.

4 thoughts on “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

  1. Laura,

    Thanks for blogging. I find your work fascinating and relevant, and thought you exhibited exemplary ecumen in dealing with your various interlocutors.

    Anyway, there are a couple papers that I just wanted to mention as maybe of interest:

    Matthew Hull (2003) “The File: Agency, Authority and Autocracy in an Islamabad Bureaucracy,” in Language & Communication, v.23

    Dominic Boyer (2003) “Censorship as a Vocation: The Institutions, Practices and Cultural Logic of Media Control in the German Democratic Republic,” in Comparative Studies in Society & History, v.45

  2. Thanks, Jeff. Those sound like they’ll be great framing pieces. If you come across other resources, I’ll be setting up a separate email account through my blog in the next couple of days and would appreciate the tips.

    Kerim – I hope it becomes a resource! That would be a wild success!

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