This article explores the history and practice of rectal feeding, an anachronistic obstetric practice used recently as a form of medical rape in US Central Intelligence Agency prisons. The article outlines how racialized themes of counterterrorist interrogation intersect with behavioralist logics of torture in CIA uses of rectal feeding on Muslim prisoners captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan, linking these prisoners to US security state fears of domestic Black Muslims. Exploring how fantasies of the plastic reorientation of prisoners’ bodies and minds frames state conceptions of rectal feeding and other forms of torture, the article further argues that understanding the racialization of Islam in the current wars requires analysis of the racial materiality of interventions that exploit the plastic potentials of the body.
Reversible Human: Rectal Feeding, Plasticity, and Racial Control in US Carceral Warfare
Neel Ahuja teaches in the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies program and the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species (2016).
Neel Ahuja; Reversible Human: Rectal Feeding, Plasticity, and Racial Control in US Carceral Warfare. Social Text 1 June 2020; 38 (2 (143)): 19–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-8164728
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