Identifier

etd-10262005-155109

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The Iconography of Nationalism: Icons, Popular Culture, and American Nationalism develops a model of cultural icons, defining icons as highly visible, culturally variable, and overdetermined auratic images. Situating icons within the context of mass reproduction technologies and American nationalism, this study seeks to demystify the simple images presented by infantile, national, and scapegoat icons in literature, film, and political rhetoric. This dissertation argues that icons participate in the American nationalist project by channeling citizens’ political and patriotic feelings through seemingly simple images. While acknowledging that icons are necessary to construct what Benedict Anderson calls “the imagined community” of the nation, this study complicates a quick and easy reading of an icon’s manifest content and uses narrative to reveal the latent content in images like Marilyn Monroe, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, Elvis Presley, Pocahontas, Uncle Sam, Big Brother, and Adolf Hitler.

Date

2005

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Carle Freedman

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