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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 10, Issue 2, 2007

Rachel Walsh
Pages 133-148

Perverted Conversions
Sovereignty, the Exception, and the Body at Abu Ghraib

This paper seeks to examine the images and discourses that have allowed for the declaration of the state of exception and the use of sovereign power. Examining the Abu Ghraib prison photographs as iconic emblems of the civilizational discourses that allow for exercises of sovereign power, I argue that these photographs articulate a dual interpellation of the Islamic Other as the terrorist/uncivilized Other and the viewer as a normative, national subject. I identify this moment as a perverted conversion in which the Islamic Other is hailed as one who necessitates an imperial crusade yet whose uncivilized state undermines the efficacy of that crusade.

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