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Captain America's Empire: Reflections on Identity, Popular Culture, and Post-9/11 Geopolitics

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Abstract:

This article introduces comic books as a medium through which national identity and geopolitical scripts are narrated. This extension of the popular geopolitics literature uses the example of post-11 September 2001 (“9/11”) Captain America comic books to integrate various strands of theory from political geography and the study of nationalism to break new ground in the study of popular culture, identity, and geopolitics. The article begins with an introduction to the character of Captain America and a discussion of the role he plays in the rescaling of American identity and the institutionalization of the nation's symbolic space. The article continues by showing how visual representations of American landscapes in Captain America were critical to constructing geopolitical “realities.” A reading of post-9/11 issues of the Captain America comic book reveals a nuanced and ultimately ambiguous geopolitical script that interrogates America's post-9/11 territorialization.

Keywords: American identity; Captain America; nationalism; popular culture; post-9/11 politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.2005.00478.x

Affiliations: Department of Geology and Geography, Georgia Southern University

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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