Since 2001, the war on terror has informed nearly all US international policies, the economy, and social and political relationships locally and globally. Although President Obama declared war on terror over in May 2013, the US remained in Afghanistan until September 11, 2021, with roughly 2500 troops still scattered throughout Iraq. From gun violence and school shootings to arming the police with military equipment, 24-hour cable news cycles, smartphones, and surveillance, the young people featured in this project have grown up feeling the impact of militarization exacerbated by the war on terror. This project investigates how the post-9/11 generation (defined as a generation that will live most of their lives after 9/11) makes sense of navigating the events of September 11, 2001, and the post-9/11 world.

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20 Years Later

Ash Marinaccio | New York, New York, United States

Organization: Docbloc (

"20 Years Later" is about memory and how historical events are taught and remembered. This portrait project investigates how the generation born after September 11th, 2001, in the United States has been taught about terrorism, the war on terror, and the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. When we talk about war and conflict, often, the lens is placed elsewhere, far away, with little or no introspection on the US’s ongoing transgressions abroad. This project investigates personal and collective memories about 9/11, militarization, and the war on terror within the United States.

This photo exhibit is part of a multidisciplinary project with a documentary theatre component that began in 2011 with “10 Years Later” (2011) and “20 Years Later” (2021). A company of youth actors devised both theatre projects through autobiographical and verbatim interview-style techniques. Excerpts from the theatre production can be viewed under the Video/Media tab.


"10 Years Later" Ensemble: Nick Wolf, Tiffani-Amber DiGrazia, Stacey Oliver, Dominique Fishback, Laura Killeen, Hank Chen, Emily Rupp, Arianna Hanson, Monica Furman, Deanna Alexandra, Kate Bralower, Peter Kendall, Sam Phillips, Haleigh Spasojevich, and Mariah Adkins

"20 Years Later" Ensemble: Kyla Jeanne, Ciela Elliot, Kristen Hoffman, Melissa Ingle, Haley Zega, Ash Marinaccio, Bryan Moreno, Marielle Parra, and Jason Wang

Special Thanks: Rattlestick Theatre, Wild Project, Robert Gonyo, Danny Mendoza, Melissa Ingle, Noura Boustany Jost, Luke Pearlberg, Co-Op Theatre East, Girl Be Heard/Project Girl Performance Collective

These portraits are an excerpt from the first chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation, “Rehearsing the Revolution: Process, Politics, and Identity Formation in Nonfiction Theatre-making in Areas of War and Conflict," which investigates nonfiction theatre-making in and about war.

Funding for various components of this project was made possible by grants from the CUNY Graduate Center's Provosts Digital Initiatives Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, CUNY Center for Humanities "NY Connects" Grant and the Publics Lab at CUNY Graduate Center.



INSTAGRAM: @ashmarinaccio




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