Wesley K. Wark – The CIA and Western Culture

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: The CIA and Western Culture


“The Popular Culture of Espionage: From the Great White Spy Chief to the End of Faction”

Wesley Wark is a professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, where he has taught since 1988, and is also a visiting research professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

He is Past-President of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (1998-2000 and 2004-2006). He served for two terms on the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Council on National Security (2005-2009) and served on the Advisory Committee to the President of the Canada Border Services Agency from 2006 to 2010.

He is the author of a classified history of the Canadian intelligence community in the Cold War, which is being prepared for publication, and is writing a study of contemporary Canadian national security policy and counter-terrorism. Professor Wark has published extensively in the field of intelligence and security studies over the past 27 years.

Professor Wark writes and comments extensively for the Canadian and international media on issues relating to intelligence, national security and terrorism.

Professor Wark earned a B.A. from Carleton University (1975), an M.A. from Cambridge University (1977) and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1984.

Brief synopsis:

The ensuring appeal of the popular culture of espionage has rested, since its origins, in its use of “faction,” the deliberate blurring of fiction and fact in its portrait of the spy as an agent of historical change and a figure of political import.

This address re-examines the nature of faction as a literary device, argues that its ‘end of history’ moment has come, and suggests that spy fiction and film need to be examined according to different criteria to understand their impact and significance.

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