chapter  17
19 Pages

Failure to Adapt

Affect, Apathy, and Doomed Reenactments in American Theatre’s Militarized Dystopias
ByEmily Klein

The US's involvement in 21st-century international military conflict and its attendant domestic responses of political resistance have both been represented amply in contemporary American drama. This chapter investigates a handful of recent plays that consider further the liminal space between embodied military engagement and corporeal acts of protest. In his 2012 New York Times article, "The Permanent Militarization of America," Aaron B. O'Connell explains this social phenomenon in relation to Dwight D. Eisenhower's prescient warning about the increasing force of this country's military-industrial complex. Learned dehumanization is part of a much larger process of cultural militarization, which social scientists understand as a form of life-long conditioning for war through an array of social and infrastructural channels including educational and religious institutions, sports, popular music and entertainment, consumer marketing, and even gender norms.