Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century

Hardcover | February 15, 2012

EditorAlexander C.T. Geppert

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Imagining Outer Space makes a captivating advance into the cultural history of outer space and extraterrestrial life in the twentieth-century imagination. Bringing together seventeen state-of-the-art essays, the volume explores the complexities of West-European astroculture and breaks new ground in the historicization of the Space Age.

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Imagining Outer Space makes a captivating advance into the cultural history of outer space and extraterrestrial life in the twentieth-century imagination. Bringing together seventeen state-of-the-art essays, the volume explores the complexities of West-European astroculture and breaks new ground in the historicization of the Space Age.

ALEXANDER C. T. GEPPERTdirects the Emmy Noether Research Group 'The Future in the Stars: European Astroculture and Extraterrestrial Life in the Twentieth Century' at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Recent book publications include Fleeting Cities: Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-siècle Europe (2010) ...

other books by Alexander C.T. Geppert

Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 10.12 × 6.13 × 1.28 inPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230231721

ISBN - 13:9780230231726

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Table of Contents

Figures
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Contributors
Introduction
European Astrofuturism, Cosmic Provincialism Historicizing the Space Age; A.C.T.Geppert
PART I: NARRATING OUTER SPACE
Space, Time and Aliens:The Role of Imagination in Outer Space; S.J.Dick
Heaven on Earth: Tunguska, 30 June 1908; C.Schmölders
Imagining Inorganic Life: Crystalline Aliens in Science and Fiction; T.Brandstetter
PART II: PROJECTING OUTER SPACE
Projecting Landscapes of the Human Mind onto Another World: Changing Faces of an Imaginary Mars; R.Eisfeld
'Smash the Myth of the Fascist Rocket Baron': East German Attacks on Wernher von Braun in the 1960s; M.J.Neufeld
Transcendence of Gravity: Arthur C. Clarke and the Apocalypse of Weightlessness: T.Bjørnvig
PART III: VISUALIZING OUTER SPACE
Per Media Ad Astra?: Outer Space in West Germany's Media, 1957-87; B.Mütter
Balloons on the Moon: Visions of Space Travel in Francophone Comic Strips; G.de Syon
'A Stumble in the Dark': Contextualizing Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Space: 1999; H.Keazor
PART IV: ENCOUNTERING OUTER SPACE
Galaxies of Alien Discourse: An Anthropologist's First Contact with the Science of 'Weird Life'; D.Battaglia
A Ghost in the Machine: How Sociology Tried to Explain (Away) American Flying Saucers and European Ghost Rockets, 1946-47; P.Lagrange
Seeing the Future of Civilization in the Skies of Quarouble: UFO Encounters and the Problem of Empire in Postwar France; J.Miller
PART V: INSCRIBING OUTER SPACE
Self-Reproducing Automata and the Impossibility of SETI; G.Munévar
Inscribing Scientific Knowledge: Interstellar Communication, NASA's Pioneer Plaque, and Contact with Cultures of the Imagination, 1971-72; W.R.Macauley
Alien Spotting: Damien Hirst's Beagle 2, Mars Lander'S Calibration Target and the Exploitation of Outer Space; T.Weddigen
Epilogue
Look Up: Art in the Age of Orbitization; P.Pocock
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"This wonderful multinational and multidisciplinary collection is greater than the sum of its fascinating parts. Crystalline aliens, a mysterious Siberian explosion, silicon-based life forms, Tintin, Thunderbirds, Star Trek and Raëlians are just some of the many things which are examined in a brilliantly eclectic series of essays." - David Edgerton, Imperial College London, UK"With generous references to the scholarship and original sources, as well as its own intelligent and well-integrated contributions, this book establishes a comprehensive new field of research – 'astroculture.'" - Michael G. Smith, Purdue University, USA "Europe too has a history of imagining outer space, distinct from yet inextricably linked with global cultures of perceiving and experiencing the universe. This splendid volume offers a fascinating panorama of visions of the future. Anyone interested in the complex relationship between technology, space, and culture will garner much from this groundbreaking work." - Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum"Imagining Outer Space . . . takes a step in the right direction by defining the concept of astroculture and offering some interesting examples of relevant research." - The Space Review "A rich field for cultural history . . . A beautiful book . . . However peripheral Europe's contributions to the Space Age may have been, nothing was spared in the imagination. The matter was of exemplary global interest, after all. It is the details that count here, and the contributions in this volume offer plenty: crystalline aliens and Mars scenarios, spaceflight in comic strips and ghost rockets (a European equivalent to flying saucers), UFOs in postwar France and well-intentioned offers of interstellar communication." - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung "Offers an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to the cultural and social history of the space age in Europe. While it offers fascinating insights into the European context, it is its redrawing of the disciplinary boundaries of space history that should be most applauded . . . Highly recommended." - Anke Ortlepp, H-Soz-u-Kult"This is clearly an important contribution to the literature and a stimulus to ongoing and future debates and endeavours in the intertwining realms of culture, space and technology." - Derek Hall, Space Policy "With its emphasis on multidisciplinarity, and its wide variety of contributions, topics, and themes, Imagining Outer Space demonstrates the rich potential that astrocultural studies holds for the field of the history of spaceflight, while at the same time, it truly contains something for everyone." - Janet Vertesi, Quest "Imagining Outer Space offers rich potential in explaining the infatuation of spaceflight by Europeans of many different nationalities and cultures. It may well jump-start a new approach to the history of spaceflight, something beyond the well-worn space-policy and geopolitical studies that are so much a part of the field. Without question, astrocultural investigation is one of the more interesting and original efforts to restructure spaceflight history in the early twenty-first century." - Roger D. Launius, Technology and Culture"Revelatory . . . It certainly fills a gap." - Jon Agar, British Journal for the History of Science "This volume's fifteen diverse essays, substantive introduction, and valuable epilogue all examine various aspects of 'astroculture' by considering and configuring the cultural and social significance of the Space Age both to and within the Atomic Age. […] The diverse voices and visions […] provide ample opportunities for interested readers to change-out comfortable disciplinary lenses and linguistic and conceptual toolboxes for unfamiliar optics and methodological approaches to outer space and space exploration that must surely transcend transnational and transdisciplinary boundaries. […] Fascinating." - Pamela Gossin, Isis "As a whole, the volume succeeds in demonstrating the relevance and importance of these three threads and arguments. Each from a different author, each of whom stems from a different disciplinary background, the 15 chapters that follow the introduction emphasise and reflect each of the threads to different degrees. Together, the chapters survey an excellent variety of topics that fall under the 'astroculture' umbrella. Further research into European astroculture would be a valuable contribution to other social and cultural histories of Europe and to wider understandings of human engagements with outer space. [This book] is a giant leap in that direction." - Jason Beery, University of Pittsburgh