Lecture: Homeland Security Sublime - State Allegory in the 'War on Terror'

Timothy Melly (University of Miami)

George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” was a mystifying state project.  Not only did it specify no particular enemy and purport to be global in scope, but it publicly asserted its reliance on covert operations and clandestine agencies.  Since 2001, numerous journalists, artists, and scholars have attempted to illuminate the nature and activities of the massive US security state.  Such efforts often involve an aesthetics of the sublime, a struggle with the immense scale and architectural complexity of the security apparatus. In the face of this sublime object, allegory has been a particularly influential mode for imagining the security state and its relation to both citizens and putative enemies.  After sketching the challenges of representing the Homeland Security State, this talk explores the changing role of security allegory in a seemingly boundless “War on Terror.”  I concentrate on three types of cultural narrative: a longstanding form of espionage melodrama, a post-9/11 allegory of public mystification, and a more recent form centered on female espionage agents. The re-gendering of security allegory, I suggest, signals a growing acceptance of the brutality of US security practices. 

Eintritt frei
engl. Sprache

ZU GAST IM DAI: BAA Summer Academy 2019 “State Narratives in Comparative Perspective”

Bildrechte: University of Miami

27. Mai 2019


DAI - Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Gleißbühlstraße 9 90402 Nürnberg