TV nation: What The Wire, House of Cards, and Girls can teach us about America



29 October 2014

The telly. Most of us switch it on to switch off. We watch it to "decompress." To unwind after work. Sometimes we even indulge in a little "trash." Commonly understood, television is an unserious and unintellectual medium. Something trivial, it serves as a diversion. Yet, such a view discredits both TV and its viewers, since each is capable of serious commentary. As the French Philosopher Jacques Derrida never tired of pointing out: what a society marginalises says a lot about what it holds centremost. Therefore, the idea that television comes after or apart from work, that it stands outside serious social and political inquiry, could tell us a lot about the political and social institutions it supposedly reflects.

At this event an expert panel of economists, television critics and media scholars discussed what TV says about the United States. 


  • Dr Rodney Taveira
    Dr Rodney Taveira
    Senior Lecturer in American Studies, and Undergraduate, Honours, and Postgraduate Coordinator, United States Studies Centre

    Rodney Taveira is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies, and Undergraduate, Honours, and Postgraduate Coordinator at the United States Studies Centre. He was awarded his PhD in English from the University of Sydney in 2010 and has published on contemporary American fiction, book reviews, and television, and the interrelation of cinema, photography, painting, and literature.

  • Dr Aaron Nyerges
    Dr Aaron Nyerges
    Academic Director and Senior Lecturer in American Studies, United States Studies Centre

    Aaron Nyerges is the Academic Director and a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the US Studies Centre. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Sydney and a BA in Creative Writing from the State University of New York. His work focuses on the relationship between literature, media and geography.

  • Huw McKay
    ‎Vice President of Market Analysis and Economics, BHP Billiton

    Huw McKay was a Visiting Scholar at the US Studies Centre from 2013 to 2015. McKay is the ‎Vice President of Market Analysis and Economics at BHP Billiton. Previously, he has served as the Executive Director and Senior International Economist of Westpac's Economic Research Team and a principal advisor in the Macroeconomic Group of the Australian Treasury.

  • Dr Jane Park
    Senior Lecturer, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

    Jane Chi Hyun Park was a speaker at a roundtable discussion hosted by the US Studies Centre in 2010 on American culture at home and abroad. Park is Senior Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and has published widely on the social uses of media technologies, the cultural impact of minority representations, and transnational flows of popular film, music, and television, with a particular focus on representations of East Asia and Asian America.