At the event, Chris will launch his new book Heroism, Celebrity and Therapy in Nurse Jackie exploring the potential of the TV series to offer therapy, whilst framing the significance of its leading actor Edie Falco. Noah is launching his new book Traumatic Imprints: Cinema, Military Psychiatry, and the Aftermath of War, which explores the historical significance of film to rehabilitate soldiers and civilians during and after World War II. Steven shares his new work in updating his landmark book (originally released in 2000) Alternate Channels: The Uncensored Story of Gay and Lesbian Images on Radio and Television: 1930’s to the Present.
Presentation 1 by Christopher Pullen
The Irresistible addiction of TV’s Nurse Jackie, and the Transcendent Potential of Edie Falco
Chris’s presentation explores his research process in developing his new book: Heroism, Celebrity and Therapy in Nurse Jackie. He examines key storylines within Nurse Jackie, while relating the significance of heroism, the context of celebrity culture and the significance of therapy, and social action.
Chris has chosen to launch this book at the Bureau, not only for its New York setting (where Nurse Jackie takes place), but also due to the proximity of the now sadly lost Saint Vincent’s Hospital. Chris argues not only that the hospital may have been the inspiration for the series, but also that its star Edie Falco, and its main screenwriters Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem, relate their own experiences of addiction in producing such an engaging television event
Nurse Jackie’s exploration of prescription drug addiction, relating both the challenge to healthcare workers who become addicted often in trying to meet the demands of the job, and the interaction with family and community members who often are unable to comprehend the addict’s life, reveals the rich complexity of the series and its continuing value. For queer and ‘not so queer’ audiences, Edie Falco’s performance as Nurse Jackie speaks directly to the human condition and the context of the outsider and the ‘other’, revealing both our vulnerability, but also our inherent connectedness. Nurse Jackie reveals a need for society, and for individuals, to take action.
Through exploring how Chris researched the story of Nurse Jackie relating his own identification with the series, this book event offers something for existing fans of the series, and those who may never have heard of Nurse Jackie, possibly not realising that TV could be so immersive and meaningful.
Discounted copies of the book will be available at BGSQD.
Christopher Pullen is widely published on queer identity in the media, including a number of authored books such as Documenting Gay Men: Identity and Performance in Reality Television and Documentary Film (2007), Gay Identity, New Storytelling and the Media (2012), Straight Girls and Queer Guys: The Hetero Media Gaze in Film and Television (2016) and Pedro Zamora, Sexuality, and AIDS Education: The Autobiographical Self, Activism and The Real World (2016). Also he has also produced a number of edited collections: LGBT Transnational Identity and the Media (2012), Queer Youth and Media Cultures (2014), LGBT Identity and Online New Media – with Margaret Cooper (2010) and Queer Love in Film and Television – with Pamela Demory (2013).
Presentation 2 by Noah Tsika
Traumatic Imprints: Cinema, Military Psychiatry, and the Aftermath of War
Forced to contend with unprecedented levels of psychological trauma during World War II, the United States military began sponsoring a series of nontheatrical films designed to educate and even rehabilitate soldiers and civilians alike. Traumatic Imprints traces the development of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic approaches to wartime trauma by the United States military, along with links to formal and narrative developments in military and civilian filmmaking. Offering close readings of a series of films alongside analysis of period scholarship in psychiatry and bolstered by research in trauma theory and documentary studies, Noah Tsika argues that trauma was foundational in postwar American culture. Examining wartime and postwar debates about the use of cinema as a vehicle for studying, publicizing, and even what has been termed “working through” war trauma, this book is an original contribution to scholarship on the military-industrial complex.
Noah Tsika is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, City University of New York. Among his books are Nollywood Stars and Pink 2.0.
Presentation 3 by Steven Capsuto
Revisiting Alternate Channels
Steven Capsuto is now preparing a revised edition of his acclaimed book Alternate Channels: an activist history of lesbian and gay images in 20th-century broadcasting. The book also documents prime-time bisexual and transgender characters, though these were exceedingly scarce in that era.
Alternate Channels draws on the author’s interviews with TV producers, script writers, show runners, and pioneering lesbian and gay activists, as well as network censors’ notes, and documentation of Religious Right crusades against queer visibility. While preparing the book, Steven also collected notes on more than 4,000 relevant broadcasts dating from 1930 to 2000. He contextualizes the on-air depictions within the changing status of sexual minorities in American culture over those 70 years.
Steven Capsuto is an independent scholar who presents video-illustrated lectures about American television’s portrayal of LGBT lives. His book on that subject, Alternate Channels, was a semi-finalist for the Stonewall Book Award in 2001. He began researching queer television images in the 1980s while volunteering at a crisis hotline. Many of the callers were suicidal gay teens who had built their self-image on the grim depictions seen on television at that time. Steven has contributed media-history articles to periodicals and reference books, has presented papers at academic conferences in several countries, and served on the research teams for documentaries seen on PBS and Bravo cable. He was the head archivist of the GLBT Archives of Philadelphia from 1997 to 2003. In his day job, he is a translator. He recently translated Manuel Ángel Soriano’s book Homophobia in 1970s Spain into English for the Egales publishing company.