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IAS Talking Points Seminar: “America’s story” - The War Film as Cultural Ba...

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IAS Forum

Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL

Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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IAS Talking Points Seminar

“America’s story”: The War Film as Cultural Battleground

Dr Terence McSweeney, IAS Visiting Research Fellow

Respondents: Dr Stephanie Schwartz (History of Art, UCL) and Professor Lee Grieveson (SELCS, UCL)

Terence McSweeney explores the efficacy and resonance of the cinematic medium in his presentation interrogating the social, historical and political role of the American war film. Should we understand films about the Second World War, the Vietnam War and the more recently the ‘9/11 Wars’ as disposable popular culture texts or might they have been able to shape how the United States has come to understand and even remember these conflicts in the cultural imaginary?

Covering a broad range of films from Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), to Platoon (1986), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and American Sniper (2014), Terence examines their relevance for audiences at the time of their release and, perhaps even more importantly, for the generations that follow, as for a great many people around the globe these wars have become “America’s story” as Steve Martin’s Norm Oglesby tells the eponymous protagonist of Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk (2016).

Terence is a Senior Lecturer in Film at Solent University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the IAS. He is the author and editor of a number of books on the relationship between film and society including The 'War on Terror' and American Film: 9/11 Frames per Second (2014) and American Cinema in the Shadow of 9/11 (2016). His most recent book was released in the summer of 2018 entitled Avengers Assemble! Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (2018). He is currently writing a monograph about the representation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in international cinema called Blowback: The ‘9/11’ Wars in Global Film.

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IAS Forum

Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL

Gower Street

London, WC1E 6BT

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