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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Sarah M. Hughes

Garnett, Philip & Hughes, Sarah M. (2019). Obfuscated democracy? Chelsea Manning and the politics of knowledge curation. Political Geography 68: 23-33.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper interrogates the attention that Chelsea Manning has received within the academy. It begins from the observation that despite being responsible for the largest classified document leak, work within Political Geography and International Relations that engages with this data remains notably scant. This claim emerges from a systematic search of peer-reviewed materials using WikiLeaks materials as their empirical base, compiling a database of papers written about Manning. We then examine the possible reasons for this absence, focusing upon a series of what we term ‘obfuscating practices’ by which state actors complicate access to publicly accessible knowledge, including access to the US Army's Freedom of Information Request Website, and the court documents from Manning's court-martial. Finally, we look at claims of an embargo around the publication of academic work in this area, conceptualising this as a politics of paranoia and commenting upon the implications of this for knowledge curation within the academy.