Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-21-2011

Journal / Book Title


The idea of the Guantánamo detainee as a Muselmann, the lowest order of concentration camp inmates, contains within it important implications for the new understanding of sovereignty in the era of Guantánamo, in an age of exception. The purpose of this article is to explain the status of those who are detained at Guantánamo Bay. Stated broadly, in assessing that status, we will emphasize the connection between the altered meaning of sovereignty that has accompanied the placing of prisoners in an American penal colony in Cuba and the biopolitical status of the prisoners who reside there. More particularly, we will locate the points of convergence among the factors (the war on terror, sovereignty, and the media) that have produced and reconstituted the legal and ethical status of Guantánamo detainees.

Published Citation

Federman, Cary, and Dave Holmes. "Guantánamo bodies: Law, media, and biopower." MediaTropes 3, no. 1 (2011): 58-88.