"To veil the threat of terror": Afghan women and the 〈clash of civilizations〉 in the imagery of the U.S. war on terrorism

Dana L. Cloud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the role of widely circulated images of Afghan people in building public support for the 2001-2002 U.S. war with Afghanistan. Emphasizing images of women, I argue that these representations participate in the more general category of "the clash of civilizations," which constitutes a verbal and a visual ideograph linked to the idea of the "white man's burden." Through the construction of binary oppositions of self and Other, the evocation of a paternalistic stance toward the women of Afghanistan, and the figuration of modernity as liberation, these images participate in a set of justifications for war that contradicts the actual motives for the war. These contradictions have a number of implications for democratic deliberation and public life during wartime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-306
Number of pages22
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Volume90
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004

Keywords

  • Afghanistan
  • Clash of Civilizations
  • Ideograph
  • Image
  • Imperialism
  • Photojournalism
  • Terrorism
  • Visual Rhetoric
  • War
  • White Man's Burden
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

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