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Urban Research (UR) 
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Books

Spaces of Disappearance: The Architecture of Extraordinary Rendition

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Spaces of Disappearance: The Architecture of Extraordinary Rendition

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By Jordan H. Carver

By investigating the sovereign claims of American power and the architectural spaces of secret prisons, Spaces of Disappearance reconstructs the network of black site prisons developed in the early years of the so-called War on Terror. Jordan H. Carver compiles an original archive of architectural representations, redacted documents, and media reports to build a knowingly incomplete spatial history of post-9/11 extraordinary rendition. Framed by an introductory essay by architectural historian and theorist Felicity D. Scott that positions Carver’s work within a longer history of military strategy and state violence against “uncertain” warfare, this book skillfully presents the territorial and political logics of the top-secret CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. Spaces of Disappearance shows how architectures of confinement were designed to deny prisoners their human subjectivity and describes how the spectacle of government bureaucracy is used as a substitute for accountability.

Jordan H. Carver is a writer, researcher, and educator who writes on space, politics, and culture. He is a contributing editor to the Avery Review, a core member of Who Builds Your Architecture?, and a Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Fellow in American Studies at New York University.

"Jordan H. Carver has given us a comprehensive accounting of what there is to be seen, read, and known about US torture programs in the 21st century. The names, devices, methods, and places in our own dirty war are here to be reckoned with. Not all of them though— the book is as much about the disappearance of the evidence as it is about the evidence of disappearance. His retracing of the techniques of those erasures is the signal accomplishment of this book". —Thomas Keenan, Human Rights Program, Bard College

"This affecting and harrowing book examines the spatial manifestations of the War on Terror. From the uncertain sovereign spaces of Guantanamo Bay to the prefabricated metal cells that are used to house detainees in black sites, to the globally disbursed architecture of torture and disappearance, this book's focus on extraordinary rendition illuminates the uneven spatio-temporal distributions of power and violence." — Laleh Khalili, Author of Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

"This book is an essential distillation of what little evidence is publicly available about the network of infamous CIA black sites scattered around the world, and a meditation on the meaning of the attempt to erase these sites, the people held within them, and the documents that describe them. Jordan H. Carver maps out the links to the more conventional prison-building industry, connecting the extra-legality of extraordinary rendition to the all-too-legal system(s) of mass incarceration. Those who care about freedom and human rights in the built environment will value this rejection of the redactions, denials, and legalisms of the so-called War on Terror, achieved through an insistence on locating its supposedly invisible activities physically and geographically." — Raphael Sperry, ADPSR (Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility)

"State violence is intrinsically entangled with the function of the secret, but in an era of hyper-visibility, secrecy takes on different dimensions. With a thorough analysis of architectural plans, documents, and photographs, this book demonstrates how secrets can be hidden in plain sight, as different shades of the mundane. Jordan H. Carver does not show us torture, killing, or illegal detention but the attempt to mask, redact, and obfuscate these crimes. In this book, “negative evidence”—the withdrawal of evidence—operates as evidence in its own right".  —Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture

UR11

264 pages, black and white,  text with maps/charts and photographs, softcover, 6” x 9”, ISBN 978-1-947198-01-2, printed in the United States. Ships September 2018.