Transnational Feminism and Women Who Torture: Reading Abu Ghraib Prison Photography

Basuli Deb


Sexualized torture of men of the enemy front has not gained as much critical attention as that of women. Recently the sexual abuse of the bodies of 'enemy' men at Abu Ghraib have, nonetheless, increasingly drawn attention to the gendered torture of men, though much of the theorizing about such torture remains to be done. In this paper I will draw on Abu Ghraib prison photography to read the logic of military-police torture of male bodies that have been criminalized as the enemy. Of particular interest to such an understanding will be a transnational feminist inquiry into figures of female torturers of male bodies that are differently raced/cultured/nationed. What role do the bodies of women torturers in war literature and war photography play vis-À-vis their male victims? How do we theorize a responsible transnational feminist response to women who torture? Where does transnational feminism stand with respect to "enemies" of the nation?


Torture, Imperialism, Masculinity, Femininity,

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