Empty sky : 9/11 and performing regenerative violence

Doctoral thesis OPEN
Genna, Raimondo (2010)
  • Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
  • Subject: UCSD Dissertations, Academic Drama and theatre. (Discipline)

"Empty Sky: 9/11 and Performing Regenerative Violence" explores theatrical depictions of violence and trauma following the events of 11 September 2001 and their relationships to American myth and identity. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack of 9/11, many in the media, from politicians and pundits to journalists and fictional characters in popular television, discussed the epistemological rupture of the event, stating that the world had changed forever and that everything was now different. However, the ontology of U.S. national identity and its ties to myth as a mode of expression and perception underwent a re-fortification, answering the change by reiterating a distinctly American narrative. Following the work put forth by Richard Slotkin and his seminal Regeneration Through Violence, and drawing from performance studies, psychoanalysis, and cultural materialism, "Empty Sky" explores how regenerative violence is deployed through theatrical and performative means as a way of making sense of 9/11, narrativizing the Iraq War, and the reification of the American imago. My dissertation analyzes such theatrical works, such as Anne Nelson's The Guys, Lavonne Mueller's Voices from September 11th, Paul Greengrass's United 93, and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, along with Iraqi Freedom as a socio- military performance, as emblematic representations of regeneration through violence. My work also investigates critical renderings of the regenerative violence trope as a way of interrogating American mythos, such as Sam Shepard's God of Hell and Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers
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