chapter  1
19 Pages

Mises-en-scène of Militarization

Decommissioning US Military Infrastructure in the Panama Canal Zone
ByKatherine Zien

Panama will always be surrounded by the ghosts of military bases. Clayton is one of many former United States (US) military installations repurposed by the Republic of Panama. The Panama Canal Zone's military infrastructure has, in fact, played a crucial role in constructing and elaborating military-civilian divides on the isthmus and in the US. Even as the former bases have been converted to diverse ends, their pasts persist in haunting mises-en-scène, environmental pollutants, and memories fond and troubling that reside in the bodies and affects of people who lived and worked in and around them. The performance of a military-civilian divide has been central to Western hemispheric militarization, and the US government's construction, and occupation of the Panama Canal from 1904 to 1999 played a significant role in this history. Internet shrines, tinged with nostalgic ideality, reveal the performativity of militarization in the body-to-body encounters and interactions that informed life at Clayton for many of its inhabitants.