The American Imperial Gothic: Popular Culture, Empire, Violence, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The American Imperial Gothic

Popular Culture, Empire, Violence, 1st Edition

By Johan Hoglund

Routledge

224 pages

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Description

The imagination of the early twenty-first century is catastrophic, with Hollywood blockbusters, novels, computer games, popular music, art and even political speeches all depicting a world consumed by vampires, zombies, meteors, aliens from outer space, disease, crazed terrorists and mad scientists. These frequently gothic descriptions of the apocalypse not only commodify fear itself; they articulate and even help produce imperialism. Building on, and often retelling, the British ’imperial gothic’ of the late nineteenth century, the American imperial gothic is obsessed with race, gender, degeneration and invasion, with the destruction of society, the collapse of modernity and the disintegration of capitalism. Drawing on a rich array of texts from a long history of the gothic, this book contends that the doom faced by the world in popular culture is related to the current global instability, renegotiation of worldwide power and the American bid for hegemony that goes back to the beginning of the Republic and which have given shape to the first decade of the millennium. From the frontier gothic of Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly to the apocalyptic torture porn of Eli Roth's Hostel, the American imperial gothic dramatises the desires and anxieties of empire. Revealing the ways in which images of destruction and social upheaval both query the violence with which the US has asserted itself locally and globally, and feed the longing for stable imperial structures, this book will be of interest to scholars and students of popular culture, cultural and media studies, literary and visual studies and sociology.

Reviews

"In an epoch defined by ongoing concerns regarding terrorism, justice and the need to prevent further humanitarian disasters, Höglund’s work serves as a stark reminder of the conservative and reactionary possibilities of the gothic. As the conclusion of this work suggests, the West is perhaps not as far removed from its imperialistic tendencies as it may hope."— Kaja Franck, University of Hertfordshire, The British Society for Literature and Science

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the American imperial gothic; Imperial frontier gothic; The gothic of benevolent assimilation; Cold War horror; Post-Vietnam gothic; 11 September and the gothic war on terror; Afghanistan, Iraq and the new frontiers of the imperial gothic; Militarising the virtual gothic; Tales of torture and invasion; The imperial gothic of the post-Apocalypse; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Johan Höglund is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He is a member of Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Postcolonial Studies and his most recent publications include Transnational and Postcolonial Vampires: Dark Blood (2012), 'Parables for the Paranoid: Affect and the War Gothic' in Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies (2013) and 'Black Englishness and the Concurrent Voices of Richard Marsh in The Surprising Husband' in English Literature in Transition (2013).

About the Series

The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture

The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture
Dedicated to a renewed engagement with culture, this series fosters critical, contextual analyses and cross-disciplinary examinations of popular culture as a site of cultural politics. It welcomes theoretically grounded and critically engaged accounts of the politics of contemporary popular culture and the popular dimensions of cultural politics. Without being aligned to a specific theoretical or methodological approach, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture publishes monographs and edited collections that promote dialogues on central subjects, such as representation, identity, power, consumption, citizenship, desire and difference. Offering approachable and insightful analyses that complicate race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and nation across various sites of production and consumption, including film, television, music, advertising, sport, fashion, food, youth, subcultures and new media, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture welcomes work that explores the importance of text, context and subtext as these relate to the ways in which popular culture works alongside hegemony.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC002010
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOC022000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture