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American PietàsVisions of Race, Death, and the Maternal$
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Ruby C. Tapia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816653102

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816653102.001.0001

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Breeding Patriotism

Breeding Patriotism

The Widows of 9/11 and the Prime-time Wombs of National Memory

(p.109) Chapter 5 Breeding Patriotism
American Pietàs

Ruby C. Tapia

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter traces popular representations of the women who lost spouses and co-parents to the terrorist attacks of September 11, popularly labeled “The Widows of 9/11,” in U.S. television specials, popular magazines, and newspapers. It analyzes how these vastly diverse images work together to reproduce a memory of the events in the service of heteronormative formations of family, motherhood, and the nation. Working with and against the tropes traditionally used to render single motherhood in the U.S., the sentimental visual discourses that invited sympathy with maternal widows eventually rendered mothers and widows who developed stances critical of the government irrelevant to any patriotic purpose or objective spurred by September 11 terrorist attacks.

Keywords:   The Widows of 9/11, single motherhood, maternal widows, family, nation

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