Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Entrapments of Form$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Catherine Toal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823269341

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823269341.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

American Cruelty

American Cruelty

Chapter:
(p.115) Chapter Five American Cruelty
Source:
The Entrapments of Form
Author(s):

Catherine Toal

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823269341.003.0006

The “torture memos” defending the treatment of detainees considered ineligible for due process only confirm that in jurisprudence, “cruelty,” despite its polemical power as an ordinary-language term, is considered less serious than torture. Colin Dayan locates the origin of the memos’ rhetorical maneuvers in the distortion of the Eighth Amendment provision against “cruel and unusual punishment” by the institution of slavery and by the subsequent perpetuation of slave-status for incarcerated felons. The chapter links the history of interpretation of the Eighth Amendment to the discussion of cruelty in American philosophy (in the work of Richard Rorty, Martha Nussbaum, and Judith Butler), where it is variously defined as a failure of noticing, sympathy, love, or identification. The chapter traces the implications of the fact that diametrically opposed perspectives—the defense of torture and the critique of the war on terror—are implicated in an interpretative erasure of any specificity to cruelty.

Keywords:   Judith Butler, Eighth Amendment, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, torture memos, War on Terror

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .