Torture, sex and military orientalism

Owens, Patricia (2010) Torture, sex and military orientalism. Third World Quarterly, 31 (7). pp. 1041-1056. ISSN 0143-6597

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This article revisits the debate about recent American torture practices, particularly the use of discredited anthropological texts to validate long-held Orientalist assumptions about the sexual vulnerability of Muslim males. Such practices are placed in an historical context of older imperial constructions of sexually deviant Muslims as well as of more general forms of gendered and sexual subordination required for war. American torturers intended to produce very particular objects of torture - ones willing and able to confess their 'true' orientation in terms of a binary hetero/homo sexual code established in 19th-century Europe. The torturers had the power to confirm through confession and re-enactment their crude assumptions, irrespective of the actual sexualities of those being tortured, with consequences for the transnational and reactionary politics of sexual identity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Reprinted in Tarak Barkawi and Keith Stanski (eds.) Orientalism and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), pp.239-256.
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Patricia Owens
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:29
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2012 09:41
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