|dc.description.abstract||Genocide is a notoriously difficult problem to define, represent, resolve, and remember. Popular cultural texts addressing genocide often showcase considerable inconsistency in their attempts to engage each of these four arenas. In part, the textual vacillations contained within such popular cultural treatments of genocide reflect extent tensions in scholarly discussions of atrocity. Both popular and scholarly discourses on genocide demonstrate a substantive ambivalence over the relationships among state authority, public agency, and genocidal violence.
<italics> Genocide Rhetorics in US Popular Culture </italics> departs from existing work on atrocity concerned with the unstable relationships among state power, public power, and violence. Instead, this study centers on the competing ways popular cultural texts constitute state authority and public agency within their attempts to define, represent, resolve, and remember genocide. Because these texts commonly contain contradictory messages about each of these four topics, this study also looks at how these texts manage the palpable anxiety that arises from such textual incongruences. In the process, it spotlights genocidal discourse contained in two museums (the Los Angeles-based Museum of Tolerance and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.) and one documentary (Daniel Goldhagen's <italics>Worse Than War</italics>), and is informed by the literature in rhetoric, critical/cultural studies, media studies, memory studies, as well as Holocaust and genocide studies.
These texts distinctively manage the anxiety created by inconsistent assessments of state authority and public agency, working to sublimate, exacerbate, or recognize these tensions. Ultimately, the texts converge in validating state power on matters of genocide. Despite paying lip service to popular power, all three of the cases centralize the nation-state or empowered political actors as critical to genocide intervention or prevention. In spite of such shortcomings, this study concludes that the anxiety residing within these texts is productive in so far as it imparts messages about audience accountability and prompts critical reflection on issues of state power, public agency, and genocidal violence||en_US