Face of Terror

Understanding Terrorism from the Perspective of Critical Media Aesthetics (2016-2020)

Funded by: Research Council of Norway

Newspaper stand in a Europaen city with terror related news on the frontpages

The project pursues its aim of understanding terrorism from the perspective of critical media aesthetics by focusing on the face of terror -- a term that goes to the core of the communicative and mediated aspects of terrorism: The face is a primary site of contact with fellow human beings and a contested marker of identity, while in a broader sense it is also a cultural interface that distributes and redistributes visibility and power. Taking the mediated face as its entry-point, the project investigates the identity work that goes into terrorist acts as well as into the cultural responses to such acts.

The project focus primarily on visual media (film and photography) and investigates mediation of terrorism in news media, fiction film, documentary films, but also in literature and art. The terror attacks in Norway 2011 are central in our studies, as is 9/11 and recent terror attacks in Europe.

About the researchers and network



Forthcoming events

17 February 2019: Anne Gjelsvik will lead a conversation about 22 of July at Bergen Literature Festival

13 - 14 May 2019: We will organize the work shop “Mediated Faces” at NTNU with Mary Ann Doane, Anne Jerslev and Jonathan Cole as speakers. More details will follow.

Previous Events

  • Anne Gjelsvik was keynote speaker at Association for Norwegian Media Researchers’ conference in Bodø 1819 October 2018, where she presented results from her work on the movie U-July 22.
  • The Mediated Visibility of Conflicts. PhD course, University of Copenhagen, May 78 2018. In collaboration with University of Copenhagen. See course website.
  • «Mediating Trauma in Norwegian Novels on 22nd of July 2011». Paper presented by Anne Gjelsvik og Ingvild Folkvord at Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study 2018 (SASS), Los Angeles May 4th 2018.
  • Radicalisation: A series of film screenings and a seminar on radicalisation in collaboration with Tromsø International Film Festival, January 2018. See programme (in Norwegian).
  • Terrorens bilder (“Images of Terror”): Seminar in collaboration with Trondheim Dokumentarfestival.

  • Internal workshop with guests Cathrine Grant and Robert Burgoyne, September 2017.

  • Seminar “Face of Terror”, Kosmorama Internasjonale filmfestival, March 2017.

  • Internal workshop with guests Åsne Seierstad, Michael Krona and Sveinung Sandberg, January 2017


  • Professor Mary Ann Doane, University of California Berkeley, will be visiting scholar at our project in May 2019.
  • Master student Mari Johansen who are doing here master thesis on representation of right wing extremism in the Norwegian newspaper VG will be affiliated with our project.