- James, Edward and Mendleshon, Farah - The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction
Science fiction is at the intersection of numerous fields. It is a literature which draws on popular culture, and which engages in speculation about science, history and all types of social relations. This volume brings together essays by scholars and practitioners of science fiction, which look at the genre from these different angles. After an introduction to the nature of science fiction, historical chapters trace science fiction from Thomas More to the present day, including a chapter on film and television. The second section introduces four
important critical approaches to science fiction drawing their theoretical inspiration
from Marxism, postmodernism, feminism and queer theory. The final and largest section of the book looks at various themes and sub-genres of science fiction. A number of well-known science fiction writers contribute to this volume, including Gwyneth Jones, Ken MacLeod, Brian Stableford, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Joan Slonczewski and Damien Broderick.
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George, Susan Andre
“¿Who Goes There?”
Negotiating Culture, Identity and Anxiety 1950´s Science Fiction Invasion Films
This dissertation examines a popular 1950s film genre that both supported and was critical of Cold War ideologies-science fiction films, in particular, science fiction invasion films. I am primarily concerned with examining what the films can tell us about the tensions in the U.S. at the dawn of the atomic age. The film's "us" versus "them" nature reveals a great deal about the concerns and conflicting ideologies circulating in 1950s society. Working from the assumption that "invasion" films provided important visual and verbal narratives for U.S. citizens' trying to understand and negotiate the social and political changes that followed the allied victory in WWII, I focus on Hollywood science fiction invasion films made in the U.S. From 1950 through 1960. Taking a cultural studies approach to the film texts, I seek to "read" these invasion narratives as performances of middle-class, primarily white U.S. citizens' anxieties about “boundaries" and crossings/invasions of those boundaries.
Using the ideas of Mary Douglas, Susan Sontag, and others about the ways the human body and society become metaphors for one another, this analysis focuses on anxieties about three boundaries, invasions across those boundaries, and defense of the boundaries: I) the boundary between the individual and the group commonly represented as anxiety about individualism in a decade during which conformity was becoming highly valued; 2) the boundaries of women's bodies and their roles in the public and private spheres; 3) and the boundaries between "us" and "them," focusing on notions of "aIienness" and the racialized Other. Specifically, t want to examine how the films work to support other hegemonic narratives in 1950s culture. More importantly, however, I want to see if these films offer any ideological positions other than the dominant, hegemonic one. I am interested in examining the polysemic nature of these films to uncover the cultural tensions explicitly and implicitly evident in them.
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Smith, John – Men of the cold war: Warrior, Ethos and Domesticity in 1950´s America
Typically, traditional histories of the United States consist of a series of narrative centered on significant male figures, usually military leaders or those with significant military backgrounds. Though this cultural focus on warrior males seems adequate for most Americans through the end of the Second World war, the advent of the Cold War brought this dependence upon traditional warrior models into question. The widespread dissolution of traditional familial bonds -occurring during a period when the nuclear family was touted as a bulwark against external aggression- the nascent civil rights and women's equality movements, along with major advancements in nuclear - weapons - and rocket technology, all call into question the validity and efficacy of the male warriors' dominant position in American society during the 1950s. A detailed examination of such disparate sources as war films, science fiction “B” movies, children's space literature, and popular magazines such as Life and Collier 's –alongside traditional poetry and fiction- presents a fresh, unique understanding of gender roles and social expectations in mid-Twentieth Century America. Focusing on the years 1945 through 1963- the period from just after the close of World War II - through the end of the Mercury space program - this dissertation helps to change the common perception that America's Cold War anxieties stemmed primarily from an external source: the threat of Communist expansion and aggression. In fact, what worried most white, heterosexual men in 1950s America was actually an internal threat to their traditional social status: pressure to abandon their warrior ethos in favor of domestication. Though the United States has made tremendous strides in recognizing the value of multiculturalism, such social advancements came only after much consternation by those who had to relinquish their traditional societal roles: the Warrior Males.
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Davis, Doug - Strategic Fictions: Crisis, Invention, and Discovery in the American Narratives of Nuclear Defense
In his dissertation, "Strategic Fictions: Crisis, Invention, and Discovery in the American Narratives of Nuclear Defense," Doug Davis examines the central, troubled, and surprising role that storytelling, and specifically future war storytelling, played within the Cold War policy of nuclear deterrence. Combining the science studies theories of Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway with science fiction genre theory and the nuclear criticism of Jacques Derrida, Davis analyzes a diverse body of literature that concerns the future prospects of nuclear war, including national policy documents, scientific texts, journalism, pro- and anti-nuclear propaganda, and numerous works of literary fiction and film. Davis shows how these strategic fictions participated in the construction of an American narrative of nuclear defense, a future imaginary of a world at war that prescribed Cold War American global policy. However, as the practice of nuclear defense also meant imagining and writing about a future when that defense failed, the American narrative of nuclear defense engendered military and political crises and reversals with its every articulation. After detailing how this inherently contradictory narrative came to define Cold War American global policy, Davis explores how nuclear defense's contradictions were negotiated in film, literature, and science. First, he examines Hollywood films about the Air Force, focusing on Anthony Mann's Strategic Air Command (1955) and Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964), to show how Hollywood participated in the cultural politics of nuclear defense by telling cyborg love stories. He then considers two postmodernist novels, Kurt Vonnegut´s Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973), to show how literature about World War II worked upon the imagination of World War III. Finally, Davis analyzes the geoIogica1 science of impact-extinction theory (the Alvarez thesis), which posits that the dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid or comet impact, as a metaphoric
product of the Cold War's state of nuclear defense. Davis concludes by considering how our understanding of Cold War America's strategic fictions of nuclear war may help us understand the strategic fictions of nuclear terrorism that are currently guiding the United
States' national security strategy of preemptive war.
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Etiquetas: andrey, andrey2, ciencia ficción, tesis