Abu Ghraib Effect / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $10.27   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   

Overview

The line between punishment and torture can be razor-thin—yet the entire world agreed that it was definitively crossed at Abu Ghraib. Or perhaps not. George W. Bush won a second term in office only months after the Abu Ghraib scandal was uncovered, and only the lowest-ranking U.S. soldiers involved in the scandal have been prosecuted. Where was the public outcry? Stephen Eisenman offers here an unsettling explanation that exposes our darkest inclinations in the face of all-too-human brutality.

            Eisenman characterizes Americans’ willful dismissal of the images as “the Abu Ghraib effect,” rooted in the ways that the images of tortured Abu Ghraib prisoners tapped into a reactionary sentiment of imperialist self-justification and power. The complex elements in the images fit the “pathos formula,” he argues, an enduring artistic motif in which victims are depicted as taking pleasure in their own extreme pain. Meanwhile, the explicitly sexual nature of the Abu Ghraib tortures allowed Americans to rationalize the deeds away as voluntary pleasure acts by the prisoners—a delusional reaction, but, The Abu Ghraib Effect reveals, one with historical precedence. From Greek sculptures to Goya paintings, Eisenman deftly connects such works and their disturbing pathos motif to the Abu Ghraib images.

Skillfully weaving together visual theory, history, philosophy, and current events, Eisenman peels back the political obfuscation to probe the Abu Ghraib images themselves, contending that Americans can only begin to grapple with the ramifications of torture when the moral detachment of the “Abu Ghraib effect” breaks down and the familiar is revealed to be horribly unfamiliar.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Time Out London

“In The Abu Ghraib Effect Stephen F. Eisenman claims a deeper historical root for displays of pride and complicity in torture and murder. He traces what he calls the 'pathos formula', manifest in images of the beautiful death and the sublimation of suffering in the subordinate. . . . Eisenman gallops through the phenomenology of Western Art, the socio-geographic history of Europe and perception of Muslim cultures.”—Time Out London

— Sally O'Reilly

Booklist

"Scholarly, succinct, and flush with photos, Eisenman's analysis is art history at its most compelling."--Booklist

— Brendan Driscoll

Art Review

"The Abu Ghraib Effect asks how pictures of such surpassing horror can vanish in plain sight, and concludes that their disappearance is largely a matter of the very centrality of such images to Western art. . . . This argument convinces, up to a point, and Eisenman is surely right to adduce an affinity between the torture photographs and a venerable motif of Western art . . . his contention that the pathos formula perhaps constitutes the only real unity of that ostensibly humanist and progressive tradition is audacious and illuminating."—Art Review

— Brian Dillon

CAA Reviews

"There is much in this book to commend. It provides, for instance, a model of engaged, critical scholarship, one that makes art history relevant to today's political concerns. Eisenman's political commitments, moreover, are evident without ever feeling preachy or overly didactic. Dedicated to holding art history accountable for its racist representations, he debunks, in easy flowing prose, the myth that high culture somehow exists outside the desublimatory impulses that guide much of popular culture—video games, movies, pornography, etc. And in demonstrating that art's history is not as humanist or angelic as it is often presented, he effectively shows how throughout history artists and art historians have been more than willing to service the powerful. Yet the book is not all pessimism and finger-pointing. It appears that Eisenman's true concern is to construct a history that counters the celebration of violence as conquest and that refuses to make suffering beautiful. This counterhistory, I think rightly, is presented as the antidote to the Abu Ghraib effect. Thus, artists such as William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Leon Golub (Käthe Kollwitz might also have been mentioned) model instances of resistance and play significant roles as examples of artists whose political commitments guide their production, situating their work for Eisenman outside of the pathos formula."--CAA Reviews

— Terri Weissman

Art in America

"Illuminating and timely. . . . Eisenman's concepts and questions constitute a challenging discourse on politics and art."

— Dacid Ebony

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861893093
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/25/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface     7
Resemblance     11
Freudian Slip     18
Documents of Barbarism     42
Pathos Formula     60
Stages of Cruelty     73
Muscle and Bone     92
Theatre of Cruelty     101
Orientalism     108
Afterword: What is Western Art?     111
References     123
Acknowledgements     139
Photographic Acknowledgements     141
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)