War as Performance: Conflict in Iraq and Political Theatricality. 2018. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
This book examines performance in the context of the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent conflicts with Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State. Working within a theater and performance studies lens, it analyzes adaptations of Greek tragedy, documentary theater, political performances by the Bush administration, protest performances, satiric news television programs, and post-apocalyptic narratives in popular culture. By considering performance across genre and media, War as Performance offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture, warfare, and militarization, and argues that spectacular and banal aesthetics of contemporary war positions performance as a practice struggling to distance itself from appropriation by the military for violent ends. Contemporary warfare has infiltrated our narratives to such an extent that it holds performance hostage. As lines between the military and performance weaken, this book analyzes how performance responds to and potentially shapes war and conflict in the new century.
Vying for the Iron Throne: Essays on Power, Gender, Death and Performance in Game of Thrones. 2018. Co-editor with Sara Brady. McFarland. North Carolina: McFarland.
Game of Thrones has changed the landscape of television during an era hailed as the Golden Age of TV. An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series has taken on a life of its own with original plotlines that advance past those of Martin’s books. The death of protagonist Ned Stark at the end of Season One launched a killing spree in television—major characters now die on popular shows weekly. While many shows kill off characters for pure shock value, death on Game of Thrones produces seismic shifts in power dynamics—and resurrected bodies that continue to fight. This collection of new essays explores how power, death, gender, and performance intertwine in the series.
Performance in a Militarized Culture. 2017. Co-editor with Sara Brady. New York: Routledge.
The long cultural moment that arose in the wake of 9/11 and the conflict in the Middle East has fostered a global wave of surveillance and counterinsurgency. Performance in a Militarized Culture explores the ways in which we experience this new status quo. Addressing the most commonplace of everyday interactions, from mobile phone calls to traffic cameras, this edited collection considers:
- How militarization appropriates and deploys performance techniques
- How performing arts practices can confront militarization
- The long and complex history of militarization
- How the war on terror has transformed into a values system that prioritizes the military
- The ways in which performance can be used to secure and maintain power across social strata
Performance in a Militarized Culture draws on performances from North, Central, and South America; Europe; the Middle East; and Asia to chronicle a range of experience: from those who live under a daily threat of terrorism, to others who live with a distant, imagined fear of such danger.