Professor Martin Barker | ‘Where have all the insurgents gone?’

The main period of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (2004-9) was a period which saw a massive increase in talk about ‘insurgents’ in both Britain and America. In that same period, 24 films emerged from the margins of the American film industry, all addressing those conflicts. Yet there is surprisingly little overt talk about ‘insurgents’ in these films, either to confirm or to challenge mainstream talk about these figures.  So, what happens to ‘the enemy’ in these films? In this presentation, I will be developing the arguments I made in my book A “Toxic Genre” to try to make sense of this missing centre.

Martin Barker is Professor of Film Studies at the University of East Anglia, and an Emeritus Professor of Aberystwyth University.  He has published 13 books to date, across a wide range covering racism in Britain, comicbooks and their analysis, The Last of the Mohicans in film and other media, and a series of studies of film audiences (including the world study of the reception of The Lord of the Rings and a special project for the British Board of Film Classification on audience responses to watching sexual violence on screen).  He published A “Toxic Genre”, his analysis of the cycle of Iraq-centred films in 2010, and is currently completing a book on the rise of livecasts of theatre and opera into cinemas.


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