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State of Exception, Spaces of Terror: The Concentrationary Gothic and Whiteness as Spectral Terrorist

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Analyses of the ‘law’s Gothic space’ (Chaplin, 2007: 86) provides a significant context in which to disrupt conceptions of terror/ist. I advance a framework for exploring the terrorising practices experienced by British Muslims during the ‘war on terror’ termed the ‘Concentrationary Gothic,’ which extends inquiry of the state of exception experienced by the Muslim Other using a Gothic intelligibility. In particular, I explore how whiteness operates as a spectral terrorist through its absence from hegemonic frameworks of terror, which perpetuates the gothicisation of Muslims as ‘terrorist-monsters’ (Puar, 2007; Puar and Rai, 2002). Pre-emptive counter-terrorism measures rework the boundaries separating legal from the extra-legal (Valier, 2002: 333) where Muslims can be picked up without committing a crime. This situation illustrates how the law can function as a haunted space that in turn, organises how material spaces come to be haunted by the spectre of counter-terrorism officials. Drawing from the words of British Muslims, I explore how everyday spaces such as the home and the street are experienced as sites of terror following from Muslims’ relegation to the law’s extra-legal spaces to reconfigure citizenship.

This talk is part of the State of Exception, Spaces of Terror: The Concentrationary Gothic and Whiteness as Spectral Terrorist series.

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