"Rightlessness" lecture by author A. Naomi Paik

A. 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. 

 

A. Naomi Paik is an assistant professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her book, Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II (UNC Press, 2016), reads testimonial narratives of subjects rendered rightless by the U.S. state through their imprisonment in camps. She has also published articles in Social Text, Radical History Review, and Cultural Dynamics and is developing a new project on military outsourcing. Her research and teaching interests include comparative ethnic studies; U.S. imperialism; U.S. militarism; social and cultural approaches to legal studies; transnational and women of color feminisms; carceral spaces; and labor, race, and migration.

Light refreshments will be served.

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IAC Library, 831 N. Dartmouth Ave.