Shooting Stars: Militarization & Celebrity

Rebecca Forrest

Advisor: Char R Miller, PhD, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Committee Members: Suzanne E. Smith, Hugh Gusterson

Enterprise Hall, #318
December 06, 2017, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


To explore the relationship between militarization and celebrity and how celebrities have been militarized in 20th century America, this dissertation examines the militarization of Jimmy Stewart, Joe Louis, and Elvis Presley. It discusses the often overlooked saturation of military themes in popular culture through an examination of these celebrities during and after their active duty military service. Celebrity, by romanticizing and aestheticizing the violence of war and military conflict, is one of the spaces that is colonized through militarization to maintain the military’s public support for its violent ends. Through the reading of cultural material including media coverage, images, films, songs, costumes, quotes, and commodities related to the celebrities discussed and their military service, this dissertation argues that the militarization of celebrity masks military violence.