Assistant Professor of History, University of Virginia
November 12, 2015
5:15pm - 7:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
What did the British public know about torture and other abuses in their empire after 1945? Although information about violence did travel from colony to metropole, it was always mediated. Parliamentary debates and fact-finding missions, legal opinions and medical reports, newspaper stories and radio broadcasts: all these texts made allegations of violence visible while simultaneously subjecting them to rigorous standards of empirical proof. More than ideological justifications or state censorship, the practices of journalists, bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors, and others prevented a full accounting of violence in the colonies. Each of these professional groups, in different ways, translated traumatic experiences and moral outrages into empirical claims—casting doubt on the reality of torture even as they disclosed the possibility that it might be happening.