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My thesis scrutinizes the U.S. media construction of the events of September 11, 2001 as "national trauma," and the way in which this framing of the attacks has allowed '9/11' to invoke a visceral imagination of the deterministic relationship between Islam and violence. In particular, I examined American cultural memory of the attacks in popular U.S. news and entertainment television texts since September 11, 2001. My thesis is concerned with the fact that the American public's internalization of the events as national trauma furthers simplistic narratives of American innocence, and of Islam as inherently 'Other'. Moreover, my thesis is concerned that the naturalization of "our" collective experience of trauma exploits the lived trauma of those who had a personal encounter with the violence; and that the internalization of our experience of trauma is manipulated by public figures as a way through which to sway public opinion regarding morally questionable practices.
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