About

My name is T.J., and I am currently a doctoral candidate in English at Syracuse University.  My dissertation, tentatively titled “History’s Perilous Pleasures:  The Historico-Biblical Epic and the Terror of History,” argues that the mid-century cycle of epic films sought to sublimate the experience of the terror of history–engendered by the advent of nuclear technology, burgeoning anxieties about the nature of human sexuality, and the rise and fall of imperial powers–even while expressing that terror in visceral and embodied form.  As such, I argue, the epic should be seen as a genuine attempt to engage with serious historical questions, rather than a simply an object of camp humor or derision.

This blog is a space where you can read my take on a variety of subjects.  While many posts deal with film and television in some way, I will also post book reviews of both fiction (primarily historical fiction and fantasy) and nonfiction (primarily history books and scholarly monographs dealing with some aspect of film, television, and feminist/queer theory).  As a queer and feminist scholar, I will also post about issues related to social and political justice, which I see as inextricably connected to my own study of film, television, and other forms of popular media.

I also see this space as fundamentally participatory, and so I welcome (and eagerly invite!) my visitors to comment, whether to agree, disagree, or something in between.  I strongly believe in the value of making the humanities accessible and relevant to the public, and I see this blog as contributing to that endeavor.

You can follow me on Twitter @tjwest3.

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One comment

  1. allthoughtswork · October 13, 2014

    It seems impossible NOT to succeed in literature with a name like T. J. West III.

    I’ve been a documentary addict since childhood (YouTube, where have you been all my life?) and have noticed with amusement how easy it is to pin down the decade a documentary was filmed in by the attitude it takes towards its subject matter. (Don’t even get me started on Hollywood’s latest rash of “historical action movies.” I call them comedies.) I’d be interested to hear your take on how society puts its big, fat stamp on the retelling of history. Can you believe Denver students actually have to protest the glossy patriotization of America’s history in their textbooks in order to get the school board’s attention? What the–? Next, the science books will be reduced to pamphlets because, you know, only 6000 years.

    Speaking of society, have you encountered the book “Deep secrets : Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection,” by Niobe Way? It’s an illuminating study of how young men are conditioned by current societal expectations to discard their emotional selves in order to become the stereotypical action figure hero type. It’s chock-full of eye-opening quotes from the kids, themselves.

    The thing that stuck me deepest was how aware they were that the close friends they were “allowed” to have as children were no longer acceptable when they became teens because any perceived closeness or dependency might signal weakness or homosexuality, and how sad and lonely they felt having to leave those friendships behind. I gained a whole new appreciation of what most men go through and can only imagine the confounding aspects growing up gay might add to that.

    Anyway, it helped me understand certain aspects of society a little better. You may enjoy it, too.

    http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674072428

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