Rhetoric, Torture, and Surveillance Time

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Laura A. Sparks Assistant Professor, California State University, USA lsparks@csuchico.edu

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Abstract

Relying on select US government Torture Memos, this article develops the term “surveillance time” to highlight the ways in which surveillance practices, in this case within the material confines of post-9/11 detention centers, come to threaten humans’ subjectivities through temporal disruption and manipulation. While surveillance has lately been understood in digital terms, such as in corporations’ data-mining practices and in technologies like facial-recognition software, we should not neglect its material, embodied dimensions. Surveillance time ultimately asks us to reconsider how monitoring and information-harvesting practices blur the boundaries between human bodies and data. Attention to the relationship between torture and surveillance also opens up new possibilities for understanding the now-ubiquitous monitoring strategies integrated into everyday life.

Contributor Notes

Laura A. Sparks is an Assistant Professor of English at California State University, Chico, where she teaches courses in writing studies and human rights rhetorics. Her current research focuses on the relationship between rhetoric and post-9/11 interrogational torture, with particular attention to digital human rights rhetoric and rhetorical constructions of urgency and timeliness. Email: lsparks@csuchico.edu

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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