Deny All Knowledge:

Reading The X-Files

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David Lavery, Angela Hague, Marla Cartwright

 Middle Tennessee State University


The Television Series

Edited by Robert Thompson

Syracuse University Press





Contributors ix

David Lavery, Angela Hague, Marla Cartwright, Introduction. Generation X: The X-Files and the Cultural Moment (1)

Jimmie L. Reeves (Texas Tech University), Mark C. Rodgers, and Michael Epstein, University of Michigan), Re-Writing Popularity: The Cult Files (22)

Susan J. Clerc (Bowling Green State University), DDEB, GATB, MPPB, and Ratboy: The X-Files’ Media Fandom, Online and Off (36)

Allison Graham (University of Memphis), “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?”: Conspiracy Theory and The X-Files (52)

Michele Malach (Fort Lewis College), “I Want to Believe” in the FBI: The X-Files as an FBI Drama (63)

Leslie Jones, “Last Week We Had an Omen”: The Mythological X-Files (77)

Rhonda Wilcox (Gordon College) and J. P. Williams (Georgia Southern), “What to You Think?” The X-Files, Liminality, and Gender Pleasure (99)

Lisa Parks (University of Wisconsin), Special Agent or Monstrosity?: Finding the Feminine in The X-Files (121)

Alec McHoul (Murdoch University, Australia), How to Talk the Unknown into Existence: An Exercise in X-Filology (135)

Linda Badley (Middle Tennessee State University), The Rebirth of the Clinic: The Body as Alien in The X-Files (148)

Elizabeth B. Kubek (Syracuse University), “You Only Expose Your Father”: The Imaginary, Voyeurism, and the Symbolic Order in The X-Files (168)


Episode Summary (207)

Works Cited (211)

Index (221)


Linda Badley is professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author of a two volume study, Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic (Greenwood Press, 1995) and Writing Horror and the Body: The Fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice (Greenwood Press, 1996).

Marla Cartwright is an instructor in the English Department at Middle Tennessee State University.

Susan J. Clerc is a doctoral candidate in American Cultural Studies at Bowling Green State University. Her essay “Estrogen Brigades and ‘Big Tits’ Threads: Media Fandom Online and Off” in Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace, edited by Lyn Cherny and Elizabetha Reba Weise (1996).

Michael Epstein is a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture at the University of Michigan.

Allison Graham is associate professor of communication at the University of Memphis. The author of a book on Lindsay Anderson, and co-producer / director / writer of the Emmy-nominated film At the River I Stand (1993), she is writing a book on civil rights in mainstream film for Johns Hopkins University Press.

Angela Hague is professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, author of Iris Murdoch’s Comic Vision (Susquehanna University Press, 1984) and of an in-progress book, Fiction and Intuition: Nonrational Consciousness and Novel Form. She is an area state director for Tennessee MUFON.

Leslie Jones earned the PhD in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA. A professional writer and independent scholar, she is the author of several essays and of Happy is the Bride the Sun Shines On: Wedding Beliefs, Traditions, and Customs (Contemporary Press, 1995) and Druids, Shamans, and Priests (Hisarlik Press, 1996).

Elizabeth B. Kubek earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester. She is currently an instructor in the English and Textual Studies program at Syracuse University.

David Lavery is professor of English and chair of the English Department at Middle Tennessee State University. He is the author of Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age (Southern Illinois University Press, 1992) and editor of Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (Wayne State University Press, 1994).

Michele Malach teaches communication at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She is completing her dissertation at the University of Texas on the portrayal of the FBI in the media.

Alec McHoul is professor of linguistics at Murdoch University, Australia and author of numerous articles on cultural matters.

Lisa Parks is a doctoral candidate in communication at the University of Wisconsin, where she is completing a dissertation on the culture of satellite communiations.

Jimmie R. Reeves is Assistant Professor of Communication at Texas Tech University. He is the author (with Dick Campbell) of Cracked Coverage: Television News, the Anti-Cocaine Crusade, and the Reagan Legacy (Duke University Press 1994).

Mark C. Rodgers is a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture at the University of Michigan.

Rhonda Wilcox is assistant professor of English at Gordon College. She won a 1994 award from the Popular Culture Association of the South for her essay on Northern Exposure. With J. P. Williams, she is writing a book on polysemic television.

J. P. Williams teaches at Georgia Southern College. The author of several published articles (including an essay on Moonlighting in The Journal of Popular Film and Television), she is currently writing a book entitled Silencing Lois Lane.