Thesis ID: CBB298027979

Interplanetary Interventions: Performative Possibilities for Anti-Colonialist Visions of Mars (2021)


The current discourse surrounding interplanetary exploration is plagued by decidedly colonial visions for the humanization of the solar system. This ideology emerges from, and is reinforced by, the desire to expand capitalist markets, futurist imaginings of interplanetary utopia, and the positioning of inhospitable landscapes as new frontiers. I argue that the conversations and methodologies employed in the field of performance studies are well-suited to develop alternative, and possibly more revolutionary, epistemes regarding our potential interplanetary future. Performance studies has long concerned itself, and particularly in the work of Joseph Roach and Diana Taylor, with how the figures and actions visible in colonialism and the circum-Atlantic slave trade reemerge and restore themselves, and recent work in the field by Scott Magelssen, Felipe Cervera, and Jon McKenzie provide useful strategies for connecting performance studies to the sciences of astronomy and physics. I explore how these connections between performance and imperialism as well as performance and science relate to the colonization of Mars. I consider the ways performance may offer anti-colonialist epistemes through the current scientific interactions with the Mars Rovers, a historical look at Soviet cosmism in the work of Alexander Bogdanov, and in the contemporary work of afrofuturist performer D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem.

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Authors & Contributors
Vertesi, Janet Amelia
Launius, Roger D.
Mirmalek, Zara Lenora
Bell, Jim
Burgess, Colin
Conway, Erik M.
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Journal of Asian Studies
Physics World
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Social Studies of Science
Space and Defense
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Chicago Press
Cornell University
Anthem Press
Duke University Press
MIT Press
Space research and exploration
Space travel; space flight
Space programs
Solar system; planets
Technology and politics
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
United States
Soviet Union
Great Britain
Mars Exploration Rover Mission (U.S.)
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
European Space Agency
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena
United States Air Force (USAF)

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