CIRS Lunch Talk Series: The History and Evolution of American Torture and Black Sites (1898-2008)

Apr 16, 2019

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, the final CIRS Lunch Talk series for the 2018-2019 academic year concluded with a presentation from International History major Ritica Ramesh (Class of 2019), on “The History and Evolution of American Torture and Black Sites (1898-2008).”

Ritica, who is the president of the Human Rights Club and co-founder of the Future is Female club, shared research findings conducted for her Certificate in American Studies Senior Thesis.

Speaking to an audience of students, faculty, and staff, Ritica explained how her research focus, which revolves around the criminal justice system and legal institutions of the United States, intensified during a semester studying abroad in Washington, D.C.

While studying the history and development of the U.S. prison system, she noted the emergence of  historical patterns in the use of torture, which inspired her to focus on the architecture of torture, and the history of American torture and secret prisons for the past hundred years.

“Most of us associate American torture with the post 9/11 era and the global war on terror, but the history of this practice goes back to the the Philippine-American War of 1899, and it was between this period and the 9/11 era  that the American government closely and carefully developed secret prisons alongside torture techniques in a scientific manner,” she said, explaining the essence of her thesis.

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