Teaching about Torture, or, Reading between the Lines in the Humanities

  • Madelaine Hron
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing book series (PSLW)


Examining both content and pedagogy in university courses on the representation of torture, Hron argues for fostering students’ imaginative, intellectual, and empathic capacities to actively and ethically witness representations of torture, and to analyze how those representations may be formulated and mobilized toward particular political ends. As she evinces, pedagogies that work against the acceptance and normalization of torture must cultivate students’ ability to move beyond compassion fatigue and/or simple demonstrations of sympathy, and must challenge popularized portrayals of the body as a reservoir of truth that may be broken open by force. To accomplish these aims, Hron advocates several key components of courses on literary and cultural representations of torture, and exhorts educators to avoid presenting torture and interrogation as spectacles in their own classrooms.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madelaine Hron
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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