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Reed Prof Lends Voice to Torture Debate

By Chris Lydgate ’90 on December 16, 2014 11:41 AM

Reed Prof. Darius Rejali [political science 1989–] is internationally recognized as an expert on the subject of torture.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the use of “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA has sparked a national debate on the role of torture—a debate in which the voice of Prof. Darius Rejali has grown increasingly prominent.

Prof. Rejali is the author of the influential book Torture and Democracy, and is one of the world’s leading scholars on torture.

Last week, Rejali, Prof. Paul Gronke, and Peter Miller ’06 wrote an article for the Washington Post contending that U.S. opinion is still strongly opposed to the use of torture. "No, Americans aren't 'fine with torture.' They strongly reject it."

Rejali was also featured prominently in an article in the Washington Post, "This is how it feels to torture," which explores the psychological make-up of torturers and the guilt and shame they face after their deeds of cruelty.

He is quoted in this week’s New Yorker, “Torture and the Truth,” on whether the Senate report will likely change public attitudes about torture in the United States (the short answer: no.) His research has also been cited the Daily Kos, the Daily Beast, and Willamette Week.

Rejali holds the Danish Distinguished Chair in Human Rights and International Studies from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and is a Carnegie Scholar. Torture and Democracy won the 2007 Human Rights Book of the Year Award from the American Political Science Association and the 2009 Raphael Lemkin Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide, New York, for the best nonfiction work in English which addresses the causes of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Prof. Rejali has been teaching political science at Reed since 1989.