This Is What It Looks Like: Searching for Law’s Afterlife in Guantánamo

Abstract: This article considers the role of visual materials in the afterlife of extraordinary state violence. It locates a series of drawings by Guantánamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah as embedded within and counter to the camp’s existing visual grammar, where images of the camp and detainees work alongside state and legal violence to form the complex of forces that mark detainees as subjects to and subjects of (legal) death. Within these relations, detainee-produced drawings are vivid reminders of the tortured and forgotten bodies of state violence, and also the matter against which legal and political limits are both withdrawn and extended.

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About Safiyah Rochelle

Safiyah Rochelle holds a PhD in Legal Studies from Carleton University, where she is a lecturer in Law. Her research focuses on contemporary political and legal theory, critical race and visual studies, state violence, and violence and the body. Her award-winning dissertation, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), centered on an analysis of photographs of Guantánamo Bay detainees and theorized the political and legal capital of these images, the relationship between visual practices, law, and racialized bodies, and the role of state-produced photography and visual evidence in practices of state violence.