Sasha Torres, Western University

Associate Professor Information & Media Studies London, Ontario storres@uwo.ca Office: (519) 858-3312

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Bio/Research

My current research asks how fictional television in the U.S. has supported and/or resisted the political and cultural agenda advanced by the Bush administration since 9/11. It asks, in other words, a question at once historical, political and theoretical: what, since the terrorist attacks on the...

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Bio/Research

My current research asks how fictional television in the U.S. has supported and/or resisted the political and cultural agenda advanced by the Bush administration since 9/11. It asks, in other words, a question at once historical, political and theoretical: what, since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001, have been televisionís ideological effects? This is an historical question in that it embeds the suggestion that televisionís ideological function may have changed since 9/11. It is a political question in that it queries televisionís participation in a newly conservative national culture. And it is a theoretical question in that it seeks to investigate the mediumís capacity to effect hegemony in the face both of the mediumís polysemic tendencies and of possibly counterhegemonic uses by audiences.

This work considers two broad themes that have shaped both popular and political culture in the United States since 9/11. The first of these themes, ìHome,î hypothesizes that the Bush administration has effected, with remarkable success, an important reorganization of political epistemology on the home front, a reorganization characterized by a rejection of the Enlightenment embrace of reasoned argumentation based on evidence in favor of policy decisions grounded in assertion, ìfaith,î intuition, and simple political expediency. The second major theme, ìAway,î considers the implications of this new epistemology for Americanís international encounters, looking particularly at the practices of counter-terrorism, the justification of torture, and the depiction of military personnel, and asking what, precisely, is the relation between the new American imperialism and the new presidential ways of knowing?

My research contributes to our collective understanding of the relationship between television and contemporary American political culture in the following ways:

- by analyzing the relation between an epistemological assault on Enlightenment rationality and a political assault on multilateralism, human rights and the rule of law more broadly, and by considering how these assaults have been fictionalized on American television;

- by tracing the televised representation of a new masculinist appropriation of affect, intuition and ìinstinctî in the service of a new American empire;

- by interrogating the ways in which informational and fictional televisual forms borrow from each other, and the ideological effects of these borrowings.

- by providing a detailed textual analysis of how television has participated in the key political debates of the Bush era.



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