The inward urge: 1960s science fiction and imperialism

by Higgins, David M., Ph.D., INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 251 pages; 3409100


Science fiction’s “inward” turn in the 1960s coincides with an introspective shift in British and American imperial imaginings. In a moment when the ideal of the “frontier” is transforming in America, and at a time when decolonization is reversing the European colonial project, science fiction turns its attention to “inner” rather than “outer” spaces, and this introspective turn indexes the changing contours of imperial discourse and practice in the 1960s. The science fiction of this period rejects the ontological imperialism of modernist meta-narratives by exploring valid plural subjectivities; at the same time, it indexes the ways in which imperial power can utilize postmodern tactics to retain asymmetrical privilege. This dissertation indexes Cold War transformations in imperial imaginings in the fiction of Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke, J. G. Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, Thomas Disch, Philip K. Dick, Philip Jose Farmer, Joanna Russ, Samuel Delany, and Ursula K. Le Guin. These texts offer revealing insights into the continuing power of modern imperial strategies and into emergent formations of postmodern neo-imperialism.

AdviserDe Witt D. Kilgore
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsAmerican studies; American literature; English literature
Publication Number3409100

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