POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Vassar political science professor Andrew Davison studies Turkey and Middle East politics, and will discuss "The Soft Power of Hollywood 'Militainment': The Case of The West Wing's Attack on Antalya, Turkey," on Thursday, February 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the Villard Room of the College Center. Davison's talk is free and open to the public.
After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, episodes of the NBC drama The West Wing attempted to reflect timely events in the United States and the Middle East, and Davison found a September 2003 episode particularly revealing. In it, a movie theater bombing in Antalya, Turkey kills numerous Turks, Italian tourists, and American servicemen on leave, and prompts a U.S. attack on supposed terrorist training camps in a fictional Persian Gulf country.
"With other Hollywood portrayals of Turkey and Turks, this episode raises pressing questions about U.S.-Turkey relations, and more generally, about relationships between the U.S. and societies in the Middle East," said Davison. His talk will begin with a look at how these issues have been discussed at the formal political level, by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Davison has published widely in the fields of Turkish politics, international relations and political theory. His books include Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration; The Philosophic Roots of Modern Ideology: Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, and Islamism; Corporatist Ideology in Kemalist Turkey: Progress or Order? and Conquering Hearts and Minds: The American War Ideology in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, 1990-2003. Davison also produced and directed, with Benjamin Kalina the documentary film Leaps of Faith: Views on American Power, the War in Iraq, and Citizenship in a Time of War.
An associate professor of political science at Vassar, Davison has also held visiting teaching positions at Bogaziçi University and Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.
PRESS CONTACTS: Andrew Davison, associate professor of political science, (845) 437-5569, Jeff Kosmacher, director of media relations, (845) 437-7404.
PUBLIC CONTACT: Office of Campus Activities, (845) 437-5370