New York University La Pietra Policy Dialogues
invites you to the lecture
Music as Torture in the United States’ ‘War on Terror’
By Professor Suzanne Cusick, New York University
Monday, February 28th at 6:00 pm
Villa La Pietra, Salone
Professor Cusick's talk will explore how United States authorities have systematically used music and sound as elements of detention and interrogation practices so harsh as to have been defined by some as psychological torture aimed at destroying prisoners’ subjectivities. She will use first person accounts of former prisoners to show how manipulations of the acoustic disrupted prisoners’ use of hearing and vocalization both to locate themselves in intelligible worlds and to create relationships with those worlds. It is this disruption of ordinary relationality that produces the desired destruction of subjectivity. Further, she shows that a focus on hearing, vocalization and psychological trauma is insufficient to explain the violence of what one former prisoner called “the music program.” The destruction of prisoners’ subjectivities partly depends on the acoustically and philosophically salient fact that manipulations of the acoustical environment produce the somatic effect of sympathetic vibration. Always compelled by the physical properties of sound to vibrate in their very bones with those sounds, the prisoners subjected to the music program have no choice but to become, themselves, the characteristic sounds of their captors. This is an ultimate kind of violence that batters prisoners’ bodies, shatters the capacity to control the acoustical relationality that is the foundation of subjectivity, and blasts away all sense of privacy, leaving in its place a feeling of paradoxically unprivate isolation.
For more information or to R.S.V.P. email@example.com or 055 5007.202
NYU La Pietra Policy Dialogues aims to make a creative contribution to contemporary public policy debate by bringing together a wide array of actors not commonly called upon to reflect on policy questions or to sit at the same table together, including academics, politicians, business leaders, and other public intellectuals, with the ultimate goal of building a rich and diverse network across the Atlantic.
NYU La Pietra Policy Dialogues - Villa Sassetti, Via Bolognese 120, 50139 Florence, Italy - www.nyu.edu/lapietra/policy.dialogues/