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War as Performance: Conflicts in Iraq and Political Theatricality

War as Performance: Conflicts in Iraq and Political Theatricality



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.



Publication Date



Palgrave Macmillan


Cham, Switzerland


American Politics | Broadcast and Video Studies | Critical and Cultural Studies | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | English Language and Literature | International Relations | Military and Veterans Studies | Performance Studies | Political History | Social Influence and Political Communication | Theatre and Performance Studies


Description courtesy of Palgrave Macmillan; cover image courtesy of Amazon.

Subject Areas

Iraq -- Politics and government -- 2003-; War and theater -- Iraq; Iraq War, 2003-2011 -- Mass media and the war

Author/Editor Bio

Lindsey Mantoan is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Dramaturg at Linfield College. She holds a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from Stanford University, an M.A. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University.

War as Performance: Conflicts in Iraq and Political Theatricality