Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Christopher Orchard

Second Advisor

Thomas Slater

Third Advisor

Lingyan Yang

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine how post-9/11 literature has contributed to the discourse about the geo-political, social, and cultural changes that have occurred since the 9/11 attacks. I aim to show how literature has sought to resist some of the unproductive concepts and ideologies that have surfaced after 9/11, specifically by reacting to the negative role that the media had played in the aftermath of the attacks. The aim of the dissertation is to reveal how literature discursively and critically examines the concepts and beliefs surrounding 9/11 that the media has tried to project. Each of the works that will be discussed in this dissertation touches on the complicated relationship between the media and its representation of terrorism. It is not an exaggeration to say that certain novelists and filmmakers covered in this dissertation suggest that without the media terrorism would not have gained its current status. Both media coverage of and literature’s response to the aftermath of 9/11 consist of conflicting narratives. As a result, my theoretical focus is going to consist of two approaches: the first will use media theory to indicate how some media outlets have created a narrative about 9/11. Media theory analyzes cultural texts that underline the different ideologies and beliefs that help to shape our societies. This approach helps to decipher how a media culture tends to encode relations of power in our society. In terms of 9/11, texts such as Media Representations of September 11, How the World’s News Media Reacted to 9.11, and 9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster are fundamental to explain how media scholars examined how the media operated in regard to 9/11. Second, the literature texts will aid me in unpacking how they form a counter-narrative to the media’s own account of 9/11. The dissertation will explore the dialectical tension between the media and literature as the latter questions how the media constructs our sense of what happens in moments of political and cultural crises.

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