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Palgrave Macmillan

Gender, Science Fiction Television, and the American Security State


ISBN 9781137408884
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The medium of television both reflects and comments upon the gendered logic of the security regime in America. Gender, Science Fiction Television, and the American Security State uses science fiction shows from WWII through the present as a lens to explore the most essential aspects of the security regime, as the genre consistently focuses on technologies of mediation, communication, and war. As American security became increasingly dependent on technology to help shape the consciousness of its populace and to defend them from the technological threats posed by other countries, shows like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and The X-Files both promoted the regime's gendered logic and raised significant questions about that logic and the gendered roles it supported to maintain the security of the state. By charting the interaction between political developments in the security state and the evolution of feminist ideology in the culture from the end of WWII to the present, Wildermuth shows how these shows reflected and helped catalyze an evolving feminist consciousness in American culture and explores where they may yet take us in the future.

Mark E. Wildermuth is Professor of English at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, USA. He is the author of Blood in the Moonlight: Michael Mann and Information Age Cinema (2005) and Print Chaos and Complexity: Samuel Johnson and Eighteenth-Century Media Culture (2008).

1. The Evolution of Gendered Security State Logic
2. Before and After the Missile Crisis: Sci Fi TV and Gender, 1958-1968
3. In the Wake of Vietnam: The Paradoxes of the 70s and the Conflicts of the 80s
4. The 1990s: The Complexity of Gender in the Clinton Era
5. Trials and Triumphs in the 9/11 Milieu


"Wildermuth's examination of the significance of gender in American security state culture is both a searching analysis of science fiction television in its most formative decade and a compendium of feminist culture critique. His book will be a major inflection point for further debate on issues of philosophical and political importance." - Steven M. Sanders, Bridgewater State University, USA and editor of The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film
"Television can both reflect and shape popular perceptions of social and political movements. In his discussion of the gendered logic of the security state, Mark E. Wildermuth advances a fascinating thesis which is strongly bolstered by his savvy and literate analysis of science fiction television. Well-chosen examples from a wide range of programs make Wildermuth's case plausible, and of interest to scholars of both science fiction and post-war political thought." - Aeon J. Skoble, author of Deleting the State and coeditor of The Philosophy of TV Noir
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