Fallgirls (Open Access): Gender and the Framing of Torture at Abu Ghraib, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fallgirls (Open Access)

Gender and the Framing of Torture at Abu Ghraib, 1st Edition

By Ryan Ashley Caldwell


240 pages

Book Content Available Open Access*
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*Open Access content has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) license

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Fallgirls provides an analysis of the abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib in terms of social theory, gender and power, based on first-hand participant-observations of the courts-martials of Lynndie England and Sabrina Harman. This book examines the trials themselves, including interactions with soldiers and defense teams, documents pertaining to the courts-martials, US government reports and photographs from Abu Ghraib, in order to challenge the view that the abuses were carried out at the hands of a few rogue soldiers. With a keen focus on gender and sexuality as prominent aspects of the abuses themselves, as well as the ways in which they were portrayed and tried, Fallgirls engages with modern feminist thought and contemporary social theory in order to analyse the manner in which the abuses were framed, whilst also exploring the various lived realities of Abu Ghraib by both prisoners and soldiers alike. Providing a unique perspective and a thorough theoretical examination of the events, their framing and depiction, this book will be of interest to sociologists, feminists, and social and political theorists concerned with cultural studies, political communication and gender and sexuality.


'… Caldwell’s book deserves a wide audience… The book highlights the pervasive misuse of gender by an overbearing, male-dominated institution and the social science research that validates it. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries.' Choice 'I will never forget this book. The topic, is of course, frightful, horrific, and memorable. Yet unlike the many attorneys and journalists who have tracked down the Abu Ghraib story, Ryan Ashley Caldwell brings a unique perspective to these materials. Her lens is complex as she brings many perspectives to her topic - human rights and justice, ethics, politics. What is unique is her analysis of gendering and gender. Powerful. Unique. A remarkable contribution.' Judith Blau, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA 'Herein, a searing indictment of noxious assumptions, stereotypes, labels, all at work in the interest of a cover-up. Ryan Caldwell, rotating philosophical, sociological and political insights to the ghastly events at Abu Ghraib, makes it clear that we have been duped as to who is responsible. Will anyone listen?' John J. McDermott, Texas A&M University, USA 'Caldwell's position is clear from the start: she defines herself as a cultural theorist and feminist philosopher. She is also partisan: she was a researcher for the defence, ate meals with the defendants, attended the trials of Lynndie England and Harman, and spoke to numerous attorneys, relatives and friends. However, much of the evidence and arguments she presents are persuasive, and, in an effort to forestall any doubts, she reproduces lengthy transcripts of court testimonies and interviews. The result is a robust condemnation of the treatment of the "seven rotten apples" from a theoretical as well as a pragmatic perspective. Some of it makes disconcerting reading… Fallgirls is a provocative contribution to the debates about Abu Ghraib and US-led torture in the War on Terror… it opens up the debate to some new and exciting ide

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Prologue: so what really happened at Abu Ghraib?; Defense Counsel's opening statements; It was not Lucifer achieved: Zimbardo, women and Abu Ghraib; Testimony ofCaptain Donald J. Reese, US Army, Sabrina Harman courts-martial; Abu Ghraib and the 'rationalization' of rationality: uses of the masculine and feminine symbolic narratives; Testimony of Major David DiNenna, US Army, Sabrina Harman courts-martial; The abuse was reported: Parsonian gender roles and Abu Ghraib transfigurations; Evidence: Sabrina Harman's letter to Kelly Bryant; The significance of identity simulacra and gender hyperreality: American military and the case of Abu Ghraib; Testimony of Stjepan G. Mestrovic, expert witness in sociology, Sabrina Harman courts-martial; The fallgirls of Abu Ghraib: feminist analyses and the importance of context; Conversations with Sabrina Harman, summer 2007; Closing statements of the Defense Counsel, Sabrina Harman courts-martial, Captain Patsy Takemura, May 17, 2005, Fort Hood, Texas; Sworn statements; Index.

About the Author

Ryan Ashley Caldwell is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Soka University of America, USA

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies