Torture Research


Torture Research Bibliography

Hello and welcome to the web bibliography of academic research on the causes and prevention of torture. My name is Christopher J. Einolf and I am a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. I constructed this web page as a way of providing other academic researchers, advocates, journalists, students, and the general public with information on accurate, scholarly sources on torture. This web site focuses on scholarship within the disciplines of anthropology, history, law, psychology, political science, and sociology, on the causes of torture and how to prevent it.  All of the material on this website is provided by Chris Einolf, Assistant Professor at DePaul University’s School of Public Service.  For more information about me visit, About the Author.

I do not discuss debates over the ethics of torture in depth, but for readers interested in this question, see the sources in the section, Is Torture Morally Permissible? My own moral position is that torture is always wrong, and that people should always oppose it. The strongest arguments in favor of torture are the “ticking bomb” arguments, where torture is supposedly permissible because it prevents some greater evil, such as the death of thousands of people in a terrorist attack. I believe these arguments to be flawed on practical grounds, as they ground the support for torture on the assumption that torture works, and works quickly – which it doesn’t. For more on this, see the section, Does torture work?

I also do not discuss the medical and psychological effects of torture on survivors, and the medical and psychological treatment of survivors, as there is already an excellent bibliography on the subject. It is available on the web site of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. Quiroga, Jose, and Jaranson, James M. 2005. “Politically-Motivated Torture and its Survivors: A Desk Study Review of the Literature.” Torture 16 (2-3), 1-112.

The United Nations Convention Against Torture defines torture as:

“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

For other definitions of torture, click here.

I am a sociologist and historian who studies the causes of torture; in my former career, I worked as an advocate for torture survivors seeking asylum in the United States. Read more about my career and research here.

I teach at the DePaul University School of Public Service, and my e-mail address is ceinolf at depaul dot edu. I am happy to answer questions from media, scholars, students, and advocates, to the extent that my teaching and research schedule allows, so please feel free to contact me with questions. I am always updating this web site, so if you have suggestions about new articles or books, or comments or corrections to what is printed here please let me know by email to ceinolf at depaul dot edu.


Written by tortureresearch

January 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

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