The Politics of the Body

From the ‘Clean Hands” campaign to the heightened use of biometrics, the body has become a crucial site for political action, decision, and judgment. As a result, corporeal registers— facial expressions, phenotype, movement, affective expressions, etc.—are now vital markers of difference, determining the degree to which one is recognized as ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’, ‘suspect’ or ‘innocent’, ‘citizen’ or ‘foreigner’. Organized around three prominently figured bodies—the tortured body, the racialized body, and the veiled body—in the post-9/11 global landscape and its current “War on Terror”, this module examines the ways in which the body is situated and implicated in relations of power, sovereignty, identity, and violence.

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