On The Wire

Linda Williams
Berkeley Book Chats
Image of On The Wire book cover
Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
United States

Professor Emerita of Film & Media and Rhetoric Linda Williams is a leading scholar specializing in popular moving-image genres, including pornography and melodrama. Her book On The Wire (Duke, 2014) examines the HBO television series The Wire in light of genre.

In her examination of The Wire (2002-2008), Williams suggests what exactly it is that makes this HBO serial drama a great television series. She argues that while the series is a powerful exploration of urban dysfunction and institutional failure, its narrative power derives from its genre. The Wire is popular melodrama, not Greek tragedy, grounded in observation of Baltimore's people and institutions: of cops and criminals, schools and blue-collar labor, local government and local journalism. The Wire transforms close observation into an unparalleled melodrama by juxtaposing the good and evil of individuals and institutions.

After an introduction by Kent Puckett (English), Williams will speak briefly about her work and then open the floor for discussion.