The photographs that revealed the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib shocked the world. Further revelations of CIA rendition policies, deaths in custody, Guantanamo detainees and government secrecy raise critical questions about U.S. culture and what conditions fostered a climate in which torture is condoned, and even encouraged.
WHO: Fordham Center on Religion and Culture
WHAT: Public Forum: Torture and American Culture
WHERE: Fordham University, McNally Amphitheatre, 140 W. 62nd Street
WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. | Tuesday, October 21, 2008
RSVP: Free and open to the public CRCevent@fordham.edu, (212) 636-7347
What in U.S. popular culture may have predisposed leaders to authorize torture or the public to tolerate it? Do TV shows, such as Lost, 24, The Wire and Sleeper Cell legitimize torture and promote it as an effective tool? What strengths and weaknesses have American leaders in law, the military and intelligence communities, religion and psychology exhibited in responding to the current controversies over torture?
On a panel discussing graphic representations of torture and violence on TV and in other media, David Danzig, director of the Public Programs Department and Primetime Torture Project at Human Rights First, will discuss his experience with television producers and writers, along with Commonweal movie reviewer Richard Alleva and Columbia Journalism School media critic Todd Gitlin. Moderator for the discussion will be Bill McGarvey, musician and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Busted Halo.
A second panel examining the responses of American elites will feature William Treanor, dean of Fordham School of Law and former Justice Department official, discussing the legal profession; Patrick Lang, retired military intelligence officer, discussing the military and intelligence communities; Stephen E. Behnke, director of ethics for the American Psychological Association, discussing psychology; and Drew Christiansen, S.J., editor of the Jesuit weekly America, discussing religious leadership.
Panel: Popular Culture, Graphic Representation of Torture and Violence
1 to 2:15 p.m.
• Bill McGarvey, editor-in-chief of Busted Halo, and songwriter and performer; he recently released his second album, Beautiful Mess.
• David Danzig, director of the Public Programs Department and Primetime Torture Project at Human Rights First.
• Richard Alleva, film reviewer for Commonweal Magazine.
• Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, and author of Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives.
Panel: American Elites and Their Response to Torture
2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
• Frederick J. Wertz, professor of psychology, Fordham University.
• William Treanor, dean of Fordham University’s School of Law, former deputy assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel.
• Patrick Lang, longtime director, Human Intelligence Collection, Defense Intelligence Agency, and defense intelligence officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism.
• Stephen H. Behnke, director of ethics at the American Psychological Association, has degrees in law and clinical psychology from the University of Michigan.
• Drew Christiansen, S. J., editor in chief of the Jesuit weekly America, former director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Catholic Conference and counselor for international affairs to the conference.
Panel: Panelists in Conversation and Audience Questions
4 to 5 p.m.