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    Vanishing points/visible fictions: the textual politics of terror

    Salgado, Minoli (2013) Vanishing points/visible fictions: the textual politics of terror. Textual Practice, 27 (2). pp. 207-223. ISSN 0950-236X

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    My paper explores Agamben's formulation of ‘vanishing points’ – that is, spaces of exception and exclusion where a human being can be killed with impunity – and considers this in relation to the representation of the human body in literary texts on terror. I focus on the way in which gaps and elisions in discourses on terror are registered, marked and filled by literary texts that focus on the precarious vulnerability of those designated as homo sacer. I explore how writers presence the being rendered ‘sacred’ who is placed beyond the protection of the law and in danger of being silenced and disappeared, and examine the ways in which biopolitical discourse helps illuminate our analysis of literary texts such as Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost, Chris Abani's Song for Night and Salman Rushdie's Shame. I show how the formal differences between these texts are underscored by a shared concern with an ethical re-evaluation of how best to bear witness to politically sanctioned violence, and reveal how a literary and discursive approach to biopolitics can help identify the ways in which the relationship between the subject body and sovereign power comes to be constructed.

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