Following recent scholarship (Erin G. Carlston, William J. Maxwell, Timothy Melley) that renews questions of state power, national security, and cultural production, this conference critically appraised, from a range of disciplinary perspectives, the contemporary and historical interrelations between the state and the culture industries in the United States.

Topics explored included:

  • the relationship between government agencies (such as the CIA, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon) and media formats (such as novels, film, video games, social media, news, and television series); 
  • the history of representations of the state and government agencies in various cultural forms; 
  • the historiography of critical theory (Frankfurt School, Birmingham School) and the US nation-state; 
  • the US state as cultural critic; 
  • how culture industries shape, support, or criticise US foreign policy; 
  • debates around cybersecurity, diplomacy, and media. 

Outstanding papers were invited to appear in a special journal issue.