Bloody, fiery spectacles-the Challenger disaster, 9/11, JFK's assassination-have given us moments of catastrophe that make it easy to answer the "where were you when" question and shape our ways of seeing what came before and after. Why are these spectacles so packed with meaning? In The Iconoclastic Imagination, Ned O'Gorman approaches each of these moments as an image of icon-destruction that give us distinct ways to imagine social existence in American life. He argues that the Cold War gave rise to crises in political, aesthetic, and political-aesthetic representations. Locating all of these crises within a "neoliberal imaginary," O'Gorman explains that since the Kennedy assassination, the most powerful way to see "America" has been in the destruction of representative American symbols or icons. This, in turn, has profound implications for a neoliberal economy, social philosophy, and public policy. Richly interwoven with philosophical, theological, and rhetorical traditions, the book offers a new foundation for a complex and innovative approach to studying Cold War America, political theory, and visual culture.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 231 x 152 x 20 mm
"O'Gorman is an elegant, critically rigorous, and accessible writer who situates insightful textual analyses within historical and theoretical discussions. The Iconoclastic Imagination focuses interdisciplinary attention to the relationships between visuality, contemporary politics, and neoliberalism that will, no doubt, contribute to recent reconsiderations of the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. This is a beautifully written discussion of the complexly interwoven philosophical and political traditions of both iconoclasm and the sublime in recent American history."-- "Wendy Kozol, Oberlin College"
"O'Gorman offers a vital new reading of the 'where were you when' image-event in the era of neoliberal structural adjustment. Showing both the formation and limits of an American political culture increasingly reliant on the image to articulate the very terms of violence, The Iconoclastic Imagination is a provocative and timely intervention."-- "Joseph Masco, University of Chicago"