Conversations in Conflict Studies with Gladys McCormick
400 Eggers Hall, the PARCC Conference Room
“We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny: A History of Mexico’s Clandestine Prisons and the Use of Torture Since 1970.”
Gladys McCormick, Associate Professor, History and the Jay and Debe Moskowitz Chair in Mexico-US Relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University. This presentation tracks the evolution of government-sanctioned clandestine prisons and the use of repressive techniques inside them as part of counterinsurgency efforts against guerrilla groups in Mexico. It studies detention centers inside military bases, government buildings, and civilian neighborhoods in places such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Acapulco. In analyzing these spaces, the presentation focuses on how they were designed to facilitate both hard and soft forms of coercive interrogation techniques. From inside the holding cells to the torture chamber itself, the paper follows the choreography of what is referred to as “depth” interrogation to discuss how the torturer broke down the victim through the manipulation of psychological techniques facilitated by such spaces. It concludes that the design of clandestine prisons and the techniques employed inside of them against so-called subversives marked the start of a diametrically different form of political repression than what was used before, one that continues to be widely observed in today's Drug War.
Conversations in Conflict Studies is a weekly educational speaker series for students, faculty, and the community. The series, sponsored by PARCC, draws its speakers from Syracuse University faculty, national and international scholars and activists, and PhD students. Pizza is served. Follow us on Twitter @PARCCatMaxwell, tweet #ConvoInConflict.
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