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Dismantling Bodies: The War on Terror, and the Wound Aesthetic of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015)
This paper interrogates the aesthetic signature of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015). Utilizing a selection of representative episodes airing during George W. Bush’s first term, I analyze how CSI mobilizes a particular aesthetic of wounding in which wound sites, bodily and geographic, may be understood to serve as vulnerable apertures through which underlying threads of critical engagement with the direction of the 9/11 discourse may be aspirated from within the body of the text. Specifically, I approach the wound sites of CSI as sources of war-on-terror critique that serve political double-duty. On the one hand, CSI’s injury-centric narratives and accompanying wound aesthetic provide a canvas against which the traumatizing realities of 9/11 could be mediated and moderated for a newly death-anxious audience. On the other hand, the wound aesthetic ironically provides a recuperative narrative about the state’s ability to respond to political violence and prosecute its perpetrators.