EAS Speaker Series: Rightlessness: Hunger Strikes, Force-feeding, and testimony at Guantánamo by Naomi Paik

The East Asian Speakers Series presents a talk by Dr. Naomi Paik, Rightlessness: Hunger Strikes, Force-feeding, and testimony at Guantánamo on Friday, December 1, 3 pm to 5 pm at Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2125.


Naomi Paik will address themes raised in her new book, Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps Since World War II, which grapples with the history of U.S. prison camps that have confined people outside the boundaries of legal and civil rights. Removed from the social and political communities that would guarantee fundamental legal protections, these detainees are effectively rightless, stripped of the right even to have rights. Specifically, this talk will focus on both the bodily practices of and discourses surrounding prisoner practices of self-harm and the U.S. state’s efforts to preserve life—in particular, its force-feeding of hunger strikers at the current Guantánamo camp. By interpreting the testimonies of hunger strikers, Paik examines the prisoner body as a site of power and struggle waged between the U.S. state and the prisoners, who attempt to seize their own form of habeas corpus, taking their bodies back from the camp regime, by inflicting self-harm.

Alongside this talk, the Department of Geography and Planning, in collaboration with the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, the Department of East Asian Studies, and the Centre for the Study of the United States, have also asked Naomi to participate in a more informal workshop with an interdisciplinary group of grad students and faculty. As part of this event, Naomi will be circulating a work-in-progress paper that she is currently revising for publication.

Its abstract will most likely look something like this:
“This essay examines the dangerous convergence of of neoliberal capitalism and state violence in military outsourcing. It does so by analyzing Adhikari v. Daoud, a lawsuit brought by the families of Nepalese migrants who were murdered while traveling to work on a U.S. military base in Iraq. It traces the historical emergence of military outsourcing and the private military services industry and the ways they adopt imperial logics of race, gender, and labour. As Adhikari elucidates, military outsourcing marks and further enables the spread of neoliberalism in ways that eviscerate the rights and recognition of the already vulnerable and empower the already powerful without accountability.”

The workshop will be held on Friday, December 1, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM in Room 208N, the Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place.

RVSP to wesley.attewell@utoronto.ca, by Monday, November 27.

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