Lisa Stampnitzky is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield, where she teaches on terrorism and political violence, human rights, and international politics. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, and has previously held visiting positions at a number of universities, including Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, and the European University Institute.
My current book project, How Torture Became Speakable, examines the transformation of torture from an unspeakable evil to a legitimate policy option in the U.S. after 2001. This project traces the open resurgence of what I call “forbidden practices”: referring here to not just the use of practices which defy international law and norms of human rights, such as torture, assassination, and indefinite detention, but the fact that such practices have been openly acknowledged and defended by the states that use them. It speaks to a number of broader themes, including the shifting construction of the boundary between that which is secret and that which is known, the relation between the cultural and legal spheres, and the relation between morality, politics, and the state.
My first book, Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented “Terrorism” (Cambridge, 2013), traces the emergence of the field of terrorism expertise, and the contemporary notion of “terrorism.”