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Spies in Popular Culture: How and Why?

November 6, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm GMT

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In his debut Salon, Jack Chong leads a discussion on how espionage is portrayed in movies and television series, and why it is portrayed the way it is.

As a self-proclaimed nerd on espionage, these are the movies and television series (in English only, excluding Chinese and French-made works) that Jack has watched. If you have watched something new, you should definitely contribute to our discussion:

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Homeland
  3. House of Cards
  4. The Americans
  5. Fauda
  6. The Angel
  7. The Spy
  8. Tehran
  9. 24
  10. Duetschland
  11. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
  12. Bodyguard
  13. Mission Impossible
  14. The Night Manager
  15. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Key Questions to discuss

Observations: How? 

  • Is espionage portrayed differently post-911, and post-08? Does the reflection upon the War on Terror affect its portrayal?
  • Do the Europeans portray espionage differently than the Americans?
  • How do creators portray espionage i.e. the nature, action, and ethics of it? Via action scenes, plots, or character development?

Motivations: Why? 

  • Why is espionage portrayed the way it is in popular culture?
  • Critical Theory: is the inclusion of espionage in the popular culture itself an act of espionage – the deliberate manipulation of public opinion in favour of/against espionage?
  • Do English-speaking countries produce overwhelmingly many spy movies and TV shows, compared to non-English-speaking countries?


How the CIA Hoodwinked Hollywood

Review on Homeland on US Foreign Policy, with spoilers

How CIA spies infiltrated movies, music, art and more

American pop culture fascinated with espionage

The Americans and Identity, with spoilers 

No spoilers of No Time To Die!

Image is from Kosmorana



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November 6, 2021
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm GMT
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Jack Chong