My dissertation, “Securing America: Drone Warfare in American Culture After 9/11” won the Michael H. Granof Award, which recognizes the best dissertation at UT Austin out of any field, in 2017. “Securing America” forms the basis for my forthcoming book manuscript, tentatively titled Unmanned Nation: The Power of Drone Warfare in American Culture.
Unmanned Nation examines the growing ubiquity of military drones in American culture and media. Through closely reading video games, defense industry advertisements, STEM education programs, and even religious rhetoric, I conclude that these textual and media forms articulate the value of drones not only to national security, but to individual feelings of wellbeing and comfort among American civilians. Such visions of the drone as a symbolically and culturally powerful machine, I argue, accelerate the process of domestic militarization in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the nation’s ongoing battle against terrorism.