Gender and the homoerotic logic of torture at Abu Ghraib

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Title: Gender and the homoerotic logic of torture at Abu Ghraib
Author: Caldwell, Ryan Ashley
Abstract: The focus of this dissertation is a social and cultural theoretical analysis of the empirical data regarding the prison abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by American forces . I provide the following : an examination of the photographs of abuse that were leaked to the press in the fall of 2003 ; an analysis of both Lynndie England ?s and Sabrina Harman ?s courts -martial (two of the ?rotten apples ? ) ; a discussion of the body associated with punishment and torture , and also as marked in ways of identification ; and an assessment of additional representations regarding prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib . Throughout this analysis , I use gender as a lens to understand Abu Ghraib and the subsequent courts -martial . It is important to note that I gained access to and was intimately involved as a graduate researcher for Dr . Stjepan G . Mestrovic , an expert for the defense , and experienced the events of the trials themselves , first -hand and during closed counsel and open session . The empirical data provided is drawn primarily from first -hand qualitative research that involved participant -observation of two trials , interaction with soldiers and officers , and analysis of both documents pertaining to the trial as well as the photographs of abuse themselves , among other things . I incorporate cultural studies , feminist and sociological theory (modern and postmodern ) , and feminist philosophy so as to provide a theoretical analysis of the abuse at Abu Ghraib and the subsequent courts -martial focused on gender and sexuality . The result of this dissertation is a social and cultural theoretical analysis of the empirical data regarding the prison abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by American forces , where women , gender , and sexuality are shown to be important criteria for examination . Specifically , the results of this project highlight areas that current analyses of the abuse at Abu Ghraib have left out : how women fit into American military politics , how gender functions as power within the military , how gender is socially constructed in the military in terms of heterosexuality , and how both gender and sexuality are used as weapons by the American military . This kind of examination is useful in future policy considerations for the military and for detainee treatment , where analyses of women , gender , sexuality , and power have been so far neglected in any serious way , and even by sociologists Phillip Zimbardo and the application of his Stanford Prison Study to the events of Abu Ghraib .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1617
Date: 2009-05-15

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Gender and the homoerotic logic of torture at Abu Ghraib. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1617 .

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