The Abu Ghraib Effect
By (author) Stephen F. Eisenman
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Abu Ghraib Effect by Stephen F. Eisenman
Book DescriptionThe line between punishment and torture can be thin, but the entire world agreed it was crossed at Abu Ghraib. Or did it? George W. Bush emerged from the scandal relatively unscathed, winning a second term months later, only a few low-ranking soldiers involved in the crimes were prosecuted, and the issue went almost entirely unmentioned during the mid-term elections in 2006. Where was the public outcry? Why was the American public largely unmoved by the images of torture and humiliation? Stephen F. Eisenman posits an unsettling explanation, which is rooted in the character of the Abu Ghraib photographs themselves. Eisenman argues that the complex of violent and sexual motifs found in the photographs constitutes the Abu Ghraib effect', an instance of a longstanding Western pathos formula', whereby victims are shown taking pleasure in their own chastisement and pain. The cruel formula is widespread in the history of art and visual culture from Hellenistic Greece to modern times, and generally serves as an instrument of imperialist self-justification and racist violence. But Eisenman also argues that it has not gone unchallenged. Artists from Hogarth and Goya to Picasso and Leon Golub, as well as other dissidents, have worked assiduously to undermine this vicious tradition of torture images. By identifying the pathos formula at work in the Abu Ghraib images, and by explaining how this insidious form of visual propaganda has been resisted, Eisenman points the way towards a more effective use of political images in the war against the war on terror.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781861893093
(216mm x 138mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Reaktion Books
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publish Date: 24-Jan-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Stephen F. Eisenman
Cry of Nature, Paperback (September 2013)
The Cry of Nature documents and explores the making of animal rights over the course of 300 years. Engaging the ﬁelds of biology, ethnology, anthropology, economics, philosophy and art history, it is both a survey and a closely argued examination of human and animal relationships.
Nineteenth Century Art, Paperback (July 2011)
Embraces many aspects of the nineteenth century art history attention to issues of class and gender, reception and spectatorship, racism and Eurocentrism, popular and elite culture while recovering the remarkable vitality, salience and subversiveness of the era's best art. This title includes a chapter on Photography, Modernity and Art.
From Corot to Monet, Hardback (May 2011)
Through 170 works, this title analyzes the relationship between Impressionism and nature from an innovative angle.
Abu Ghraib Effect, Paperback (February 2010)» View all books by Stephen F. Eisenman
Offers a subtle, yet uncompromising analysis of the iconic photographs of torture from the prison at Abu Ghraib.
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Author Biography - Stephen F. Eisenman
Stephen F. Eisenman is Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. His other books include The Temptation of Saint Redon (1992), Gauguin's Skirt (1997) and Nineteenth-Century Art, A Critical History, now in its third edition. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois.
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