Download Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space by De Witt Douglas Kilgore PDF

By De Witt Douglas Kilgore

Astrofuturism: technological know-how, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space is the 1st full-scale research of a classy, clinical, and political circulation that sought the amelioration of racial distinction and social antagonisms in the course of the conquest of area. Drawing at the well known technology writing and technological know-how fiction of an eclectic staff of scientists, engineers, and well known writers, De Witt Douglas Kilgore investigates how the yankee culture of technological utopianism spoke back to the political upheavals of the 20th century.

Founded within the imperial politics and utopian schemes of the 19th century, astrofuturism envisions outer house as an never-ending frontier that provides options to the industrial and political difficulties that dominate the fashionable international. Its advocates use the conventions of technological and medical conquest to consolidate or problem the racial and gender hierarchies codified in narratives of exploration. as the icon of area includes either the imperatives of an imperial prior and the democratic hopes of its erstwhile topics, its examine exposes the beliefs and contradictions endemic to American culture.

Kilgore argues that during the many years following the second one international conflict the topic of race turned the main powerful signifier of political problem for the predominantly white and male ranks of astrofuturism. in accordance with feedback encouraged by way of the civil rights flow and the hot left, astrofuturists imagined area frontiers which could expand the succeed in of the human species and heal its ancient wounds. Their paintings either replicated dominant social presuppositions and provided the assets invaluable for the serious utopian tasks that emerged from the antiracist, socialist, and feminist events of the 20th century.

This survey of numerous our bodies of literature conveys the dramatic and artistic syntheses that astrofuturism envisions among humans and machines, social imperatives and political desire, actual wisdom and technological strength. Bringing American experiences, utopian literature, well known conceptions of race and gender, and the cultural research of technological know-how and expertise into discussion, Astrofuturism will supply students of yank tradition, enthusiasts of technology fiction, and readers of technology writing with clean views on either canonical and state of the art astrofuturist visions.

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Additional resources for Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space

Sample text

It made the technosocial project of human expansion into cislunar space, both crewed and robotic, imaginable and possible. During the 1950s and 1960s, through its most articulate proselytizers, it supplied the cultural meanings and the technological schemes, which drove the space race of the cold war. In the 1970s and 1980s, it became a part of the political debates over whether science and technology are part of the problem or part of the solution to poverty, racism, the limits to growth, and war.

This way of reading, of troping intended meanings for unintended purposes, is particularly well suited for astrofuturism. On the one hand, disciplined as it was by the political demands of the cold war, astrofuturism is the product of elite, white, male scientists, intellectuals, politicians, industrialists, and soldiers. On the other, even while it imagines ways to extend the dominance of its producers, it also invites speculation about alternatives. It thus recalls its origins in the nonelite, marginal dreams of the early spaceflight movement, keeping the faith long after spaceflight has ceased to be awarded prominence in the national agenda.

However, it seems to have served as the catalyst for regenerating astrofuturist speculations about the "new world" that the first human settlers of Mars might create. 6] These books, set in the near future, continue to engage the ideas and politics that I have examined in this chapter; the political drama of Bova's novel, for instance, is supplied by the politics of race and nation through the half-Navaho geologist who is part of the first crew to land on Mars. As a discursive practice within contemporary American culture, astrofuturism continues to shape our perception of the present and our expectations of the future.

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