This is a preprint
Is a Trojan Horse an Empty Signifier? The Televisual Politics of Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black self-consciously negotiates the politics of the gaze. It demonstrates how the women-in-prison genre contrives objects out of subjects, and it stages a looking back: women meet the gaze with a disdain that the audience is made to share. While it is initially a white, middle-class protagonist who looks back, her privileged position is relinquished via a ‘‘Trojan horse’’ strategy that can be read through Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s theories of hegemony and the empty signifier. In this collision of narrative structure and political strategy—challenged gaze and Trojan horse—lies a potential model for producing liberationist cinema.