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'When you think of the Taleban, think of the Nazis': Teaching Americans '9-11' in NBC's the West Wing

Holland, J (2011) 'When you think of the Taleban, think of the Nazis': Teaching Americans '9-11' in NBC's the West Wing Millennium Journal of International Studies, 40 (1). pp. 85-106.

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Only three weeks after the events of 11 September 2001 (hereafter 9/11), Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing delivered a special one-off episode, outside of usual storylines. The episode, titled ‘Isaac and Ishmael’, is interesting because it adopts an explicitly pedagogical theme to teach viewers how to think about the events of 9/11. The episode can thus be read as an instance in the wider construction of the meaning of those events. In this respect, this article argues that the production of the episode contributed to notions of rupture and exceptionalism. In addition, despite the potentially ‘liberal’ and ‘academic’ lessons given by the show’s stars, the extensive contextualisation of the previously incomprehensible events for a dominantly American audience actually relayed, amplified and reinforced the emerging dominant discourses of the Bush Administration. Accepting and repeating official tropes, The West Wing ultimately served to further limit space for debate in the wake of 9/11.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Politics
Authors :
Holland, J
Date : 1 September 2011
DOI : 10.1177/0305829811408680
Related URLs :
Additional Information : NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Millennium Journal of International Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Millennium Journal of International Studies, 40 (1), 85-106, September 2011, DOI 10.1177/0305829811408680.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 02 Dec 2011 14:39
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:15

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