Over the weekend, the United States commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which took the lives of nearly 3,000 people and left thousands of others injured.
Memorializations of 9/11 express a range of emotions and political interests, with some praising the way Americans united in the aftermath and others lamenting that it led to the United States’ involvement in our longest war ever, which has taken the lives of an estimated 900,000 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and other post-9/11 war zones over the last twenty years.
We are still living with the echoes of September 11 and the ensuing War on Terror. Today on the show, WORT producer Richelle Wilson explores two legacies of 9/11.
For the first part of the show, UW-Milwaukee professor Richard Grusin talks about the televised 9/11 attacks as a “global media event,” how it changed news reporting and the media landscape, and the ways it opened the door to increased surveillance as a feature of everyday life.
Then, University of Illinois professor A. Naomi Paik outlines the history of the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, including how it operates as a legally ambiguous zone, the political creation of the “enemy combatant,” and why there are still forty “forever prisoners” detained at Guantánamo even after U.S. troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Richard Grusin is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he researches and teaches about media, American studies, and digital culture. He is former director of the Center for 21st Century Studies and author of several books, including Premediation: Affect and Mediality After 9/11 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
A. Naomi Paik is an associate professor of Criminology, Law, & Justice and Global Asian Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is the author of Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II (UNC Press, 2016) and Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding U.S. Immigration for the 21st Century (University of California Press, 2020).
Cover photo: “National September 11 Memorial South Pool” by Marco Almbauer, public domain / filter added