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Abstract

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.

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