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Historicizing Waterboarding as a Severe Torture Norm

Rory Cox of the St. Andrews Institute of Intellectual History will reflect upon how and why waterboarding was ‘downgraded’ by the Bush administration between 2001 and 2008, how the medieval view of waterboarding as a severe torture technique informs contemporary views regarding the legal and ethical permissibility of waterboarding as a means of intelligence gathering, and the dangers that ‘torture creep’ poses to civil society.

Situating waterboarding within a broader historical context highlights the ways in which International Relations scholarship can expand its canon of sources, to think how pre-modern evidence can reveal the existence of societal attitudes and norms that have persisted or perished in the modern day. Addressing why some norms have survived while others have been rejected is fundamental to a deeper understanding of our own assumptions and behaviors.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 5:00pm to 6:20pm

Social Science Plaza A, 1100
Pereira Drive, Irvine, CA 92697

Event Type

Lectures / Presentations


General Public




Social Sciences


Event Sponsor

Department of International Studies

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