The Showtime series Homeland (2011–) has typically been seen as a spy thriller, an instance of “terrorism TV,” or an example of prestige television. This article takes a long view of Homeland, treating its heroine, Carrie Mathison, as a female warrior-adventurer, a character with deep roots going back to eighteenth-century print culture. The essay proposes that Homeland resembles many popular print war narratives that define their female protagonists, whether cross-dressing soldiers or spies, as specially positioned for the discovery of a war’s secret, untold history. Marginalized by the military and denied a voice in official war narratives, women reenter the culture of war writing as intelligence heroes, in possession of a war narrative that has been hidden from public view. The article examines both the continuities between Homeland and earlier secret histories of war and the show’s adaptation to a contemporary media and historical environment. Contrary to earlier female warrior narratives, in which home threatens to confine the adventurer, Homeland treats the domestic realm as a space of adventure, where the rogue hero can investigate the wider world of war through binge watching and the forging of intimate relationships.
Philip Joseph; The Intelligence of the Female Adventurer:Homeland as a Secret History of War. Genre 1 April 2019; 52 (1): 25–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-7501003
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