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November 12, 2004

Press Contacts: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330, or Jodi Bart, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330.

Professor Sanford Levinson to Discuss, Sign Book on Torture, Nov. 17

Covor of Levinson's "TORTURE:A Collection with Professor Sanford Levinson"

WHAT: A book discussion and signing of TORTURE: A Collection with Professor Sanford Levinson.
WHEN: Wed., Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Barnes & Noble, Westlake, 701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, Texas (Bee Cave Road at Capital of Texas Highway in the Village at Westlake Shopping Center).

AUSTIN, Texas — Sanford V. Levinson, who teaches law and government at The University of Texas at Austin, will discuss and sign copies of TORTURE: A Collection at Barnes & Noble Westlake on Wed., Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.

The subject of torture presents a complex moral, legal and political problem. The essays in TORTURE: A Collection (Oxford University Press, October 2004), edited by Levinson, wrestle with the ramifications of rejecting the existing legal prohibition of using torture in any and all circumstances.

Contributors to the collection of essays include such notables as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, federal judge Richard Posner, and political philosopher Michael Walzer. Levinson took on the project of collecting these essays in a "belief that the topic of torture is especially significant and that there needs to be much greater public discussion of the topic."

Levinson and the contributors agreed that all of the royalties attached to this book will go not to the authors but rather to the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition. Copies of the book will be sold at the book signing, but it is not necessary to purchase a book to attend the discussion.

About the Book:
Although all of the essays in TORTURE were written before the May 2004 disclosures of abuses - including allegations of torture - in Iraq and Afghanistan, the topic is both timely and thought-provoking. Covering such topics as the legal history of torture, the fine line between torture and interrogation, political implications, effectiveness of coercive techniques, and the laws regarding the use of torture, the book seeks to encourage dialogue and thoughtful response to the use of torture as it applies to military and police actions. Levinson says that despite the grim nature of the topic, this is an important book that citizens should peruse and contemplate.

TORTURE: A Collection cover art:

About the Speaker/Editor:
Professor Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law and Professor of Government at The University of Texas at Austin. He is an internationally eminent scholar of constitutional law, whose numerous books and articles include Wrestling with Diversity (Duke, 2003), Written in Stone (Duke, 1998), Constitutional Faith (Princeton, 1988), and “The Canons of Constitutional Law" (Harvard Law Review, 1998). He is currently working on the fifth edition of the popular casebook Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and NYU School of Law, and is a member of the American Law Institute. In April 2001, Levinson was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the highest academic honors in the United States.

Related Links:
About Professor Levinson:
Levinson Interviewed about TORTURE by Austin American-Statesman book editor Jeff Salamon:
TORTURE: A Collection:
Village Voice article on Abu Ghraib:
Wrestling with Diversity:
Professor Levinson Receives Highest U.S. Academic Honor: