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Abstract

Julie Gerk Hernandez, in her article "The Tortured Body, the Photograph, and the U.S. War on Terror," engages in an analysis of the institutional mechanisms that lead to dehumanizing violence as a result of the ongoing allegations of torture of detainees at U.S. military bases at Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo. Hernandez conducts her investigation by examining the photographed torture at Abu Ghraib as an atavistic resurgence of the representational practices at work in post-Civil-War racial lynching. Hernandez also explores the historical and visual parallels between the photographs at Abu Ghraib and the photographs of post-Civil-War lynchings in order to show how the torture at Abu Ghraib exists within an historical continuum of racialized violence. Exposing the direct link between the individual perpetrators' actions and U.S. policy, Hernandez shows that the torture at Abu Ghraib was an institutional rather than a personal act and examines how this institutional connection is successfully eclipsed from public view. She shows through her comparative analysis of these practices that attention to these institutionalized practices is essential for understanding the process of racializing social conflict.

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