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Figuring ViolenceAffective Investments in Perpetual War$
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Rebecca A. Adelman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823281671

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823281671.001.0001

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Liberal Imaginaries of Guantánamo

Liberal Imaginaries of Guantánamo

(p.178) Chapter 5 Liberal Imaginaries of Guantánamo
Figuring Violence

Rebecca A. Adelman

Fordham University Press

In its depictions of Guantánamo Bay detainees, the state’s agenda is obvious. But the state is not the only entity that mediates detainees’ voices: so, too, do the individuals and organizations that work on their behalf. Reading the history of anti-Guantánamo activism, the chapter demonstrates that it often relies on an erasure of detainee political subjectivity and a refusal of the possibility of detainee anger. Three case studies bear this out. First, a set of city-council resolutions from Massachusetts and California that extended hypothetical welcomes to select detainees on their hypothetical release; the chapter queries the politics of this deeply conditional hospitality and the presumptions of American exceptionalism underpinning it. American exceptionalism is central to the analysis of the next object, the Witness to Guantánamo documentary project, which collects testimonies from former detainees. W2G does crucial documentary work, but its structure also compels the detainees to offer forgiveness and recuperative visions of American goodness. Next, the chapter explores the politics of detainee creative production, with a particular attention to practices of circulation and consumption, and the fictive experiences of intimacy that they promise their audiences. The chapter ends with a critique of a fanciful renarration of Guantánamo’s past and future.

Keywords:   American exceptionalism, anger, artistic production, detainees, Guantánamo Bay, Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History, Poems from Guantánamo, resettlement, Witness to Guantánamo

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