Cinema and Media Studies Homeland
by
Jeffrey Chown, Ace Henricks, Marilyn Lorch, Bryan Mead
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0276

Introduction

Homeland debuted on 2 October 2011 for the Showtime cable network. Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, who had been producers of Fox Television’s 24, developed the project as an adaptation of the Israeli series Hatufim, produced by Gideon Raff. Homeland has been a critical/financial success, and Showtime has announced plans for a seventh and eighth season. As of 2017, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) lists it as receiving nominations for 157 major awards with fifty-four wins, including two Best Actress Emmys for Claire Danes and one Best Actor for Damian Lewis. Besides the popular acclaim, Homeland also received robust scholarly attention through the first six seasons. The feature of a strong, female protagonist working in a male-dominated environment has attracted attention in the Gender area. Claire Danes has done extensive research on the character’s bipolar disorder, which has occasioned comment by scholars in the Gender and Mental Health: Personal and Societal sections. Homeland has provided fertile ground for scholars working in Philosophy and Ethics disciplines, particularly those concerned with modernity and technology. The Central Intelligence Agency’s role in contemporary international Politics is a dominant theme of the series, which has invited attention from scholars from political science. Cultural theorists have been particularly interested in Post-9/11 Neoliberal Security State emotional aftershocks in popular culture and frequently cite Homeland as cutting edge. As a consequence of this attention, a body of work has emerged on Homeland and the Representation of Muslims. Some of this commentary is strongly critical of the show’s representational choices. Additionally, Homeland is theorized as operating squarely in recent innovations to TV Form exemplified by such shows as The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones, which fuel what Jason Mittell has called “narratively complex television.”

Gender

Homeland features a strong, multidimensional female protagonist, leading to many discussions related to gender representation within the show. Negra and Lagerwey 2015 introduces a special section of Cinema Journal that has feminist insights. Shih 2013 debates whether the representation of women in Homeland is indicative of progress, while Murray 2013 outlines the way in which women in traditionally masculine roles end up punished for subverting acceptable feminine traditions. Dolan 2013 provides interesting commentary on the roles of Jessica Brody and Helen Walker in their role of preserving family. Steenberg and Tasker 2015 centers Homeland within greater conversations about crime television, focusing on the use of a female protagonist in relation to questions of surveillance. Wessels 2016 poses Carrie as a product of neoliberalism, which plays into ideas related to affective labor.

  • Dolan, Jill. “Homeland.” In The Feminist Spectator in Action: Feminist Criticism for the Stage and Screen. By Jill Dolan, 119–122. New York: Palgrave, 2013.

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    In an early appraisal of the series, Dolan argues the producers “try to keep twisting the narrative so that the binary of American/good, Middle Eastern/bad won’t maintain. But the visual scenario tells a different story” (p. 120). She then lists the many examples in the series of nonwhite characters being brutalized. Interesting take on women preserving families while their husbands are elsewhere; exemplified in Jessica Brody and Tom Walker’s wife.

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  • Murray, Shelby C. “The Deceptions of Powerful Female Roles: A Feminist Critique of Homeland.” San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, 2013.

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    Murray looks at the character Carrie Mathison and finds she conforms to Damean’s assertion that women in traditionally masculine positions on television are sabotaged by narratives that foreground issues in their personal lives. She argues that Mathison’s characterization works more to support male hegemony than features a positive representation of a powerful female lead on television.

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  • Negra, Diane, and Jorie Lagerwey. “Analyzing Homeland: Introduction.” Cinema Journal 54.4 (2015): 126–131.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2015.0057Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this introduction to a special section of Cinema Journal that focuses largely on Homeland, Negra and Lagerwey provide a rich background to the several essays that follow. They touch upon the significance of the show as it relates to issues regarding class, race, culture, gender, and US foreign policy while centering the show as an example of “quality television.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Shih, Irene. “Existential Heroines: Zero Dark Thirty and Homeland.” Kennedy School Review 13 (2013): 98–103.

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    Shih looks at the female lead roles in feature film Zero Dark Thirty and the television show Homeland to examine their functions in the narrative. Shih sees progress in representation of women and Muslims but warns that when narrative is focused on marginalized characters, content producers will choose story over social progress.

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  • Steenberg, Lindsay, and Yvonne Tasker. “‘Pledge Allegiance’: Gendered Surveillance, Crime Television, and Homeland.” Cinema Journal 54.4 (2015): 132–138.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2015.0042Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Situates Homeland in the generic context of American crime television, arguing the show utilizes two of this genre’s most prominent tropes: constant vigilance regarding national borders and the vital yet precariously placed female investigator. The authors suggest the rich relationship between the female protagonist and questions of surveillance establishes the show as an important addition to the crime television genre. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Wessels, Emanuelle. “Homeland and Neoliberalism: Text, Paratexts and Treatment of Affective Labor.” Feminist Media Studies 16.3 (2016): 511–526.

    DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2016.1160140Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wessels examines Homeland alongside several paratexts, arguing that meanings produced through the intersection of text and paratexts create a preferred interpretation of Carrie Mathison, which aligns with neoliberal and postfeminist ideologies of affective labor. Therefore, the preferred interpretation of Homeland sees affective labor as positive, and writes off the negative effects as individualized personal issues. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Mental Health: Personal and Societal

Carrie Mathison’s struggle with bipolar disorder has prompted interesting scholarly discussions related to depictions of gender and mental disorders. Bevan 2015 describes how Homeland uses the female body to explore issues related to female mental health, physical health, and sexuality. Herson 2016 positions Homeland within larger discussions of female madness and relates this madness to feminine resistance in professional spaces. Rouleau 2014 discusses Carrie’s disability as a symbolic representation of post-9/11 anxieties, while Bhattacharyya 2014 describes Carrie’s troubles as a narrative means to justify heightened measures being used within a security state. Munford and Waters 2014, on the other hand, focuses on the show’s methods of undermining Carrie’s “unruly” behavior. Matthews, et al. 2016 lauds the depiction of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the series.

  • Bevan, Alex. “The National Body, Women, and Mental Health in Homeland.” Cinema Journal 54.4 (2015): 145–151.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2015.0048Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through an approach that utilizes concepts from feminist geography, Bevan centers the character of Carrie Mathison’s body as a space in which the show explores broader questions regarding issues such as surveillance and citizenship. Bevan effectively investigates this topic in relation to Carrie’s mental and physical health, along with her sexuality. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Bhattacharyya, Gargi. “Narrative Pleasure in Homeland: The Competing Femininities of ‘Rogue Agents’ and ‘Terror Wives.’” In The Routledge Companion to Media & Gender. Edited by Cynthia Carter, Linda Steiner, and Lisa McLaughlin, 374–383. London: Routledge, 2014.

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    Bhattacharyya explores Homeland’s use of female tropes and how these characterizations are understood in relation to the security state. The majority of the work centers on Carrie as an unruly female hysteric. Bhattacharyya argues this depiction is intentional and works to justify the means and lengths to which the agents in the show are willing to go in the name of security. Bhattacharyya also explores the “white wife” and the “troubled/misunderstood woman” within the same security state context.

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  • Herson, Kellie. “Transgression, Embodiment, and Gendered Madness: Reading Homeland and Enlightened through Critical Disability Theory.” Feminist Media Studies 16.6 (2016): 1000–1013.

    DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2016.1189947Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Herson examines female madness in the shows Homeland and Enlightened through the lens of both feminist disability studies and cultural studies. This work operates as an extension upon prior studies that examine cultural and gendered understandings of madness. Further, Herson explores how Homeland and Enlightened use madness as central to the resistance that their female protagonists display in relation to their professional lives as well as their respective private spaces. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Matthews, Avery Madeleine, Peter B. Rosenquist, and William Vaughn McCall. “Representations of ECT in English-Language Film and Television in the New Millennium.” Journal of ECT 32.3 (September 2016): 187–191.

    DOI: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000312Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    After a broad survey of the representation of ECT in film and television, the authors conclude “only 2 television depictions were medically accurate, and both were produced for series on cable television: HBO’s Oz (2003) and Showtime’s Homeland (2012)” (p. 187).

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  • Munford, Rebecca, and Melanie Waters. “Homeland Insecurities.” In Feminism & Popular Culture: Investigating the Postfeminist Mystique. By Rebecca Munford and Melanie Waters, 120–132. New York: I. B. Taurus, 2014.

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    In a section titled “Homeland Insecurities,” the authors contend Carrie “is repeatedly coded as a girlish or daughterly figure” (p. 120), particularly in relation to scenes with her family. Nonetheless, Carrie is an “unruly girl.” Analysis is particularly good on the use of electroconvulsive therapy in the narrative to curtail Carrie’s “disorderliness.”

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  • Rouleau, Joelle. “Keep It Right—Homeland: The Female Body, Disability, and Nation.” Review of Disability Studies 10.1 (2014): 17–27.

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    This work looks closely at the first episode of Homeland to explore the way in which the show utilizes the protagonist, Carrie Mathison, as a symbol for post- 9/11 anxieties. Rouleau specifically looks at this topic through both a feminist and disabilities studies lens, offering insight on how these anxieties are manifested through the contrast of the character Carrie against her masculine counterpart Nicholas Brody.

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Philosophy and Ethics

This section conveys the growing interest in connecting Homeland with philosophical inquiry. Arp 2014 provides a collection of essays using the show as a catalyst for introductory philosophical discussion well suited for undergraduate courses. The remaining articles read specific issues raised by Homeland through the lens of a particular philosopher. Farred 2014 uses Derrida’s idea of autoimmunity to examine distinctions between the “self” and the “other,” while Schulz 2015 brings Deleuze’s “Society of Control” to the show’s seeming preoccupation with surveillance and security. Tylim 2014 attempts to uncover Homeland’s subtext through Freudian psychoanalysis, seeing a tension between what audiences see and what the show hides, and Wessels 2012 sees an increasingly paranoid, post-9/11 world represented in the show while exploring otherness through the lens of Žižek. Neroni 2015 provides a psychoanalytic read of the show’s representation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture.

Politics

The articles in this section focus on the geopolitical aspects and issues present in Showtime’s Homeland. Castonguay 2015 argues that Homeland’s plot works to justify widespread surveillance and encroachment on civil liberties. Delmont 2013 touches upon Homeland and depictions and debates regarding drone strikes. Dietrich 2015 examines how Homeland depicts the inherent tensions between secrecy and transparency in democratic societies. Dodds 2015 explores ways to produce and consume shows about geopolitics with an emphasis on how intertextuality influences the viewing experience. Jenkins 2016 looks at Homeland among other contemporary works to see how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is depicted in Hollywood. Pears 2016 reports on focus groups that were conducted to find how audiences read the narrative in terms of terrorism discourse and security. Shapiro 2015 considers class and capitalist devaluation present in Homeland’s main characters.

  • Castonguay, James. “Fictions of Terror: Complexity, Complicity and Insecurity in Homeland.” Cinema Journal 54.4 (2015): 139–145.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2015.0045Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Castonguay argues that despite some of the more positive reactions to Homeland, much of the plot can also be understood as propaganda of the Obama administration that reinforces the notion that surveillance and other intelligence measures are needed even if their implementation comes at the expense of personal freedoms or other negative consequences. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Delmont, Matt. “Introduction: Visual Culture and the War on Terror.” American Quarterly 65.1 (2013): 157–160.

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    In a review of cultural developments in regard to America’s policy on drone strikes, Delmont critiques Homeland. He writes: “Obama’s praise of Homeland is intriguing because the show offers a critical view of drone strikes, which have become an increasingly important and controversial weapon in the war on terror under the Obama administration” (p. 158). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Dietrich, Rene. “Secret Spheres from Breaking Bad to The Americans: The Politics of Secrecy, Masculinity, and Transgression in 21st-Century U.S. Television Drama.” In Transgressive Television: Politics and Crime in 21st-Century American TV Series. Edited by Birgit Dawes, Alexandra Ganser, and Nicole Poppenhagen, 195–215. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitatsverlag Winter, 2015.

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    Dietrich explores the contrasting representations of secrecy and transparency in certain popular television dramas, including Homeland, arguing these shows both challenge and reiterate societal norms of transgressive and acceptable behaviors through their representations. Looks at Brody and Carrie through this lens, seeing in their narrative a challenge and potential transgression of democracy and its demand for transparency.

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  • Dodds, Klaus. “Popular Geopolitics and the ‘War on Terror’.” E-International Relations, 10 May 2015.

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    Identifies three different ways to consider popular geopolitics through its production and consumption in shows such as Homeland. First, the politics of representation and how popular culture presents and signifies places, ideas, and communities. Second, considering lighting, costumes, locations, acting, etc., and how aesthetics might impact viewers emotionally. Third, considers how intertextuality influences how viewers can and do “read” the world.

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  • Jenkins, Tricia. “Relaxing the Rules: Zero Dark Thirty, Homeland, and the Move toward Nuance.” In The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television. Edited by Tricia Jenkins, 153–176. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2016.

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    Examines Homeland and Zero Dark Thirty with other CIA-Hollywood collaborations in mind, and argues the complexity of these two shows and the difficulties encountered by their CIA agents signal a shift in the CIA’s approach to depictions of the agency. Though still interested in promoting a positive self-image, Jenkins sees the CIA as more pragmatic in its dealings with Hollywood in a post-9/11 era, and willing to characterize the dealings of characters in the CIA in more antiheroic fashion.

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  • Pears, Louise. “Ask the audience: television, security and Homeland.” Critical Studies on Terrorism 9.1 (2016): 76–96.

    DOI: 10.1080/17539153.2016.1147774Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Studies the idea of terrorism discourse through both Security Studies and Cultural Studies lenses. Sees a growing concern with identity, emotions, and the everyday in Security Studies, and uses these findings to analyze Homeland by comparing meaning within Homeland and the process of meaning making by members of the show’s British audience. Pears uses data gathered in focus groups to show how viewers read, reproduce, and resist the dominant narratives within the show’s text.

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  • Shapiro, Stephen. “Homeland’s Crisis of Middle-Class Transformation.” Cinema Journal 54.4 (2015): 152–158.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2015.0051Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shapiro explores Homeland’s use of viewer immersion to highlight the middle class’s path toward recognizing their own capitalistic devaluation. The work explores this aim through character/viewer mimicry and describes a multi-temporal way of thinking through historic trends that have traditionally realigned class alliances. Shapiro posits that viewers who see characters like Carrie or Brody shifting alliances will be empowered to do the same. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Post-9/11 Neoliberal Security State

In the opening credits of Homeland, we hear Carrie Mathison utter, “I missed something once before. I won’t—I can’t—let that happen again.” This line comes from the pilot, in which Saul Berenson responds, “It was ten years ago. Everyone missed something that day.” To which Carrie comes back: “Everyone’s not me.” Thus a key aspect of Carrie’s character is her obsession with preventing another 9/11 catastrophe. A number of commentators have found a post-9/11 paranoia infused in the audience that has responded to Showtime’s Homeland. That this paranoia emerges from emotionally traumatic experience is the concern of Echart and Castrillo 2016, Steiner 2012, and Zanger 2015. Hall 2013 argues that Homeland as popular culture responds unconsciously to an awareness of the US policy of using torture in interrogations in Iraq. That there is a cultural need for security following trauma that is expressed in Homeland is explained by Coşkun 2012 and Edgerton and Edgerton 2012. Edgerton 2012 posits that the romance of the Carrie/Brody romance distracts from the theme of Carrie as an action hero in the post-9/11 universe. Perello-Sobrepere 2014 explores how Carrie’s response to 9/11 is more palatable for cable television than broadcast television. Higgins 2012 illustrates how post-9/11 trauma manifests as a ghostly presence in the drama. Letort 2017 suggests the trope of paranoia in the series resonates with the “gaslight films” of the 1940s.

  • Coşkun, Bezen Balamir. “Words, Images, Enemies: Macro-Secularization of the Islamic Terror, Popular TV Drama and the War on Terror.” Turkish Journal of Politics 3.1 (2012): 37–51.

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    Coşkun calls for a rethinking of the Copenhagen School’s assertion that securitization is merely a speech act. Coşkun adds that visual images and the medium of television drama depicting terrorist threats can, in fact, contribute to processes of securitization by government actors; they argue this enables more extreme measures to be considered in the global War on Terror.

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  • Echart, Pablo, and Pablo Castrillo. “Homeland: Fear and Distrust as Key Elements of the Post-9/11 Political-Spy Thriller.” In Emotions in Contemporary TV Series. Edited by Alberto N. Garcia, 189–204. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-56885-4_12Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    From a volume on “emotion in TV series,” this essay focuses on fear, distrust, and paranoia that arise from America’s post-9/11 loss of perceived invulnerability. The authors are particularly good on describing Carrie’s reliance on digital technological weapons rather than the spy genre’s standard guns and explosives. Available online by subscription.

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  • Edgerton, Gary R. “Brody Must Die.” Critical Studies in Television On-Line (2012).

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    As the title suggests, Edgerton argues that for the continued vitality of Homeland’s take on post-9/11 American hysteria, the love story between Carrie and Brody has to end. Edgerton suggests the surprising audience response to Damian Lewis caused the creators to extend his presence. His on-going presence is at the expense of an important narrative that Claire Danes should be able to sustain.

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  • Hall, Amy Laura. “Torture and Television in the United States.” The Muslim World 103.2 (2013): 267–286.

    DOI: 10.1111/muwo.12012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hall examines scenes of torture in television and argues that they have responded to our perceptions of social order and safety in a post-9/11 America. In her analysis of Homeland, Hall sees main character Carrie’s electroconvulsive therapy to gain clarity as self-torture, analogous to the perceived benefits of other forms of torture displayed in the other shows considered.

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  • Higgins, Sean. “The Haunting of Homeland.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 9 October 2012.

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    Higgins does an extensive comparison of Carrie Mathison as the female center of a “horror” story to Shirley Jackson’s 1959 The Haunting of Hill House. Writing during season two’s narrative about soldiers converting to Islam, Higgins says: “It is Homeland’s most radical gesture to suggest that Americans, in the single-minded pursuit of their own safety, have made the ghosts they perceive and project a reality.”

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  • Letort, Delphine. “Conspiracy Culture in Homeland (2011–2015).” Media, War & Conflict 10.2 (2017): 152–167.

    DOI: 10.1177/1750635216656968Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sees Homeland as appropriating the narrative tropes of paranoia seen in gaslight films from the 1940s to produce an unstable narrative structure combining conspiratorial thinking with the serial format. Letort explores the first five seasons of Homeland to analyze how the serial format allows the creators to envision individual and mass manipulation on the international stage, ultimately promoting readings that blur the series’ political message. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • McCabe, Janet. “In Debate: Remembering 9/11; Terror, Trauma, and Television 10 Years On.” Critical Studies in Television 7.1 (2012): 89–92.

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    Against the backdrop of post-9/11 America, the authors argue that Carrie and Brody form a metaphorical doppelganger for hysteria about threats from inside and outside American culture. A further comparison is made between Carrie and 24’s Jack Bauer, with the Homeland star being “infinitely more nuanced.” Suggests the first season is about “misguided patriotism.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Perello-Sobrepere, Marc. “Homeland: War on Terror Revisited.” In Critical Reflections on Audience and Narrativity: New Connections, New Perspectives. Edited by Valentina Marinescu, Silvia Branea, and Bianca Mitu, 141–154. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2014.

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    This work begins as a character analysis of Carrie and Brody, comparing these depictions to common tropes. However, Perello-Sobrepere then outlines the ways in which both the location of the show (cable versus network) and the cultural implications of its post- 9/11 narrative time frame both influence the narrative complexity of Showtime’s hit show.

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  • Steiner, Tobias. “Dealing with a Nation’s Trauma: Allegories on 9/11 in Contemporary Serial US Television Drama Narratives and the Case of Homeland.” MA diss., University of London, 2012.

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    Steiner explores the history of trauma and television with particular interest in post-9/11 media. He separates shows in three strands, arguing that shows hinging on trauma like Homeland have progressed to show the ambiguous and complex nature of domestic and international relations.

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  • Zanger, Anat. “Between Homeland and Prisoners of War: Remaking Terror.” Continuum 29.5 (2015): 731–742.

    DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2015.1068733Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines Homeland and Prisoners of War through the lens of hypertextuality. Zanger argues that both shows render invisible terror visible, but plot elements and reception spaces for each show significantly alter meaning across the adaptation. The piece also finds traumatic excess inscribed on both male and female bodies through rewriting of the Joan of Arc (Homeland) and binding of Isaac (Prisoners of War) societal myths.

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Representation of Muslims

This section of articles contains work focusing on Homeland’s representation of Muslim, Arab, and other Middle Eastern peoples. Edwards 2016 reads Homeland through the lens of Said’s “Orientalism,” while Edwards 2017 argues that the show is anti-Muslim but is working to confront orientalism in digital media. Engels 2014 also sees the show as having negative portrayals of Muslims, connecting them to terrorist activity and thus simplifying and stereotyping them. Høie 2014 provides a contrasting view arguing the show challenges stereotypes. Massad 2012 posits that Homeland is pro-Israeli and has a number of errors in its representation of the Arab. Gramling 2016 discusses a state of “hysterical postsecularism” that forgoes dialogues of reconciliation and strife between Muslims and Western secularists. Karpuzi 2016 also examines Homeland through the lens of Said’s theory of orientalism, finding evidence of his main assertions in the narrative. Strowe 2017 looks at graffiti found in an episode of Homeland and suggests activists can challenge narrative spaces and can create agency through wider dissemination of their message.

TV Form

Articles in this section view Homeland through the lens of television aesthetics and formal analysis. Belim 2014 employs semiotics to unpack the narrative structure in the show’s pilot episode. Brinker 2015 interrogates narrative form against audience management techniques. Several pieces provide critical readings of Homeland’s title sequence, including interviews with the title sequence producer (Gould 2012), analysis of Žižekian binary relationships (Gungor 2015), reception studies (Jacobs 2012), visual rhetoric (Instrell 2014), and paratextual studies (Picarelli 2013). Genre also provides scholars a framework with which to examine the show, with Richards 2015 viewing its similarities to television drama more broadly and Tasker 2012 linking it to television crime dramas—specifically, the category of “terror TV.” Mittell 2015 uses Homeland to elaborate on an argument about plot repetition and its relation to preferred interpretations of politics and power.

  • Belim, Celia. “Narrative Structure Analysis of the 2012 Emmy Nominees for Drama TV Series: What Does the Pilot Episode Reveal?” In Contemporary Television Series: Narrative Structures and Audience Perception. Edited by Valentina Marinescu, Silvia Branea, and Bianca Mitu, 59–93. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2014.

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    Belim utilizes a semiotic framework, rooted in film studies, to examine the codification of the narrative structures of the pilot of several acclaimed television series, including Homeland. Analyzes both the plot and story presented throughout the narrative structure and considers the use of themes, stereotypes, clichés, and symbols, and how these units help to create an enticing narrative.

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  • Brinker, Felix. “On the Formal Politics of Narratively Complex Television Series: Operational Self-Reflexivity and Audience Management in Fringe and Homeland.” In Poetics of Politics: Textuality and Social Relevance in Contemporary American Literature and Culture. Edited by Sebastian M. Herrmann, Carolin Alice Hofmann, Katja Kanzler, Stefan Schubert, and Frank Usbeck, 41–62. American Studies—A Monograph Series 258. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitatsverlag Winter, 2015.

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    Brinker sets up a formal politics for what Jason Mittell terms the “narratively complex television series.” The article argues serial television employs specific formal strategies to create a form of “audience management,” structuring and organizing the reception practices of viewers. Brinker argues these formal “audience management” strategies are most prominent in moments of operational self-reflexivity that call attention to a show’s seriality, such as “previously on” segments.

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  • Gould, Eric. “Main Titles Up Close: Showtime’s ‘Homeland’.” TV Worth Watching, 14 December 2012.

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    With abundant frame reproductions, Gould does an interesting close reading of the title sequence. In an effort to understand the Greek Minotaur/mask/labyrinth references, the article reports on a phone call to the title sequence producer, Chris Billig. Also covers the inclusion of Louis Armstrong and jazz as a theme in the series.

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  • Gungor, Senem. “Homeland’s Opening Sequence Reality.” International Journal of Multidisciplinary Thought 5 (2015): 151–159.

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    Examines Homeland’s opening sequence through the lens of Žižek, arguing the sequence, like the show, sets up manipulative binary relationships between “us” and “them,” or the United States and Middle Eastern terrorists. The sequence accomplishes this binary through fragmentation, providing only parts of a never-seen whole and encouraging viewers to fill in missing gaps to complete the whole.

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  • Instrell, Rick. “Opening Shots in the War on Terror.” Media Education Journal 54 (2014): 9–13.

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    To illustrate “objectifying rhetoric,” “subjective rhetoric,” and “reflexive rhetoric” in prologues to film/TV media depicting US foreign policy, Instrell details Homeland’s opening images. He is particularly good on how the producers interweave images with the jazz score. The article juxtaposes analysis of Homeland with the opening of Ben Affleck’s Argo.

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  • Jacobs, Jason. “Homeland, Time and Titles.” Critical Studies in Television Online (2012).

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    Jacobs looks at Homeland’s title sequence and concludes it succeeds in being resilient to repeated viewings as it reflects the relationship of time, history, and the individual that is explored in the show’s narrative. In addition, pairing it with a “previously on” segment allows each episode to be renewed in relation to the context of the show.

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  • Mittell, Jason. “Ends.” In Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. By Jason Mittell, 319–354. New York: New York University Press, 2015.

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    Mittell concludes his examination of the poetics of complex television with a reflection on how power and politics play a role in the conception and interpretation of a television series. Using Nicholas Brody’s confession tape from Homeland as an example of political interpretation and reiteration, Mittell argues such narrative devices serve the dramatic needs of serial texts innovatively.

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  • Picarelli, Enrica. “Aspirational Paratexts: The Case of “Quality Openers” in TV Promotion.” Frames Cinema Journal 3 (2013).

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    Extended consideration of how opening credit/prologues form paratextual relationships to the accompanying television series. Section on Homeland reviews critical debates about whether the one-hundred-second montage of images relates coherently to the narratives of the show. Bibliography is very helpful.

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  • Richards, Lisa. “Homeland.” In The Television Genres Book. 3d ed. Edited by Glen Creeder, 141–154. London: British Film Institute, 2015.

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    Richards reviews Homeland from its status as a generic representative of television drama. She is attentive to its variations on the genre, such as its exploration of Brody’s religious faith. Admiring of opening credit sequence.

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  • Tasker, Yvonne. “Television Crime Drama and Homeland Security: From Law & Order to ‘Terror TV’.” Cinema Journal 51 (2012): 44–65.

    DOI: 10.1353/cj.2012.0085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Fits Homeland into a wider category of television dramas dealing with issues of homeland security and political violence. Argues there are commonalities across the broad category of crime television, including exploration of such themes as racial profiling, motive and political violence, coercion, and the ethics of interrogation.

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