Osgoode Hall Law Journal


Hongyi Geng

Document Type

Book Note


FOLLOWING THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS and the subsequent “War on Terror,” allegations of torture (or “enhanced interrogation”) sparked intense debates about the rights of the detainees, political accountability, and legality of actions. Today, it is taken for granted that the United States participated in the abuse of detainees at facilities. In Talking About Torture: How Political Discourse Shapes the Debate by Jared Del Rosso1, society’s acknowledgment of torture is not taken for granted. Instead, Del Rosso provides the reader with an analysis on how the discourse on torture in the US transitioned from denial of its existence to acknowledgment. The introductory chapter outlines the purpose of the book, the reason behind focusing on the discourse on torture rather than a direct study of the use of torture, methodology, and goals. In the first chapter, the author sets the foundation by proposing that “torture” is a cultural object associated with certain imagery and meaning. In the past, torture was once a “neutral word within the legal vocabulary”—today, it is a word “packed with moral meaning and humanitarian principles of human rights and inherent dignity.”2

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.