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Brigitte GEORGI-FINDLAY (Technische Universität Dresden)

“The Aesthetics and Politics of Security: 24

Sylvie ALLOUCHE (Catholic University of


Presentation of the collective volume 24 heures chrono, naissance du genre sécuritaire? (Vrin, 2022)

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“The Aesthetics and Politics of Security: 24

Although not the first U.S. television series dealing with national security and terrorism (foreign and domestic), 24 (Fox, 2001-2010) was one of the first that did so after 9/11. This presentation explores the various ways in which the show engages with the emerging government policies and public discourses in the wake of 9/11. I am especially interested in the “cultural work” (I have borrowed this term from Jane Tompkins) the series undertakes in its present moment. By staging a state of emergency, 24 simulates a climate of fear, mistrust, and paranoia that is productive for addressing ethical issues tied to government action in a post- 9/11 democratic culture. These issues are brought across, I suggest, by a particular form of serial storytelling that favors ambiguities and insecurity. Complicating viewers’ ideological meaning-making processes, these ambiguities define a serial politics that seems to play to both political aisles, conservative and liberal.

Collective volume 24 heures chrono, naissance du genre sécuritaire?, dir. Sylvie Allouche (Vrin, 2022)

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the series 24 (2001-2014, Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, Fox) appeared on our screens, featuring Special Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in the fight against terrorism. An iconic series of the 2000s, it was the first expression of a phenomenon that continues to develop, namely the deployment of fiction as a tool for analyzing terrorist violence and as a vehicle for meaning and values. A post-traumatic point of origin of the security genre, 24 is, however, more abstract, more moral than its progeny: more philosophical perhaps.

Brigitte Georgi-Findlay is Professor of North American Studies at the Technische Universität Dresden. She is co-editor of the periodical Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik – A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture. Her major publications include two monographs on Native American literature and one on The Frontiers of Women’s Writing: Women’s Narratives and the Rhetoric of Westward Expansion (University of Arizona Press, 1996). She has published on American travel writing, nature and technology, gender and colonial discourse, Americanization and transatlantic relations, and on urban space in the American West. In recent years she has focused her research on U.S. television series and the Western (on the big and the small screen).

A former student of the École normale supérieure in Paris, holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Classics and of a PhD in Philosophy, Sylvie Allouche worked in various European universities (Paris, Lyon, Budapest, Toulon, Bristol, Troyes) before becoming in 2014 a part-time Associate Professor at Lyon Catholic University (UR CONFLUENCE Sciences & Humanités EA 1598) and in 2020 a member of the ERC DEMOSERIES (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). She develops her research along two complementary directions: 1. the philosophical (ethical, political, metaphysical, aesthetic) issues raised by techno-scientific progress – transhumanism, geo- and bio- engineering, robotics and AI, bioart, etc.; 2. the relationship between philosophy and fiction, science fiction and TV series in particular.