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Imagining Outer Space

European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century

Authors: Geppert, Alexander C.T.

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About this book

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.

About the authors

DEBBORA BATTAGLIA Professor of Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA THORE BJØNVIG External Lecturer, University of Copenhagen, Denmark THOMAS BRANDSTETTER Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, Austria STEVEN J. DICK former Chief Historian for NASA RAINER EISFELD Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Osnabrück University, Germany HENRY KEAZOR Professor of Art History, Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, Germany. PIERRE LAGRANGE Lecturer in Sociology of Sciences, the Ecole des Mines, and Associate Researcher at the CNRS, Paris, France WILLIAM R. MACAULEY Doctoral Candidate, the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, UK JAMES I. MILLER Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Davidson College in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA GONZALO MUNÉVAR Professor of Humanities, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan, USA MICHAEL J. NEUFELD Chair, Space History Division, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC., USA PHILIP POCOCK Canadian artist and co-founder of the Journal of Contemporary Art CLAUDIA SCHMÖLDERS Lecturer and author, formerly Privatdozentin at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany GUILLAUME DE SYON Lecturer in Modern European History and the History of Technology, Albright College, Pennsylvania, USA TRISTAN WEDDIGEN Professor of Art History, University of Zürich, Germany

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, European Review of History/Revue europeenne d'histoire

"Imagining Outer Space is a brilliantly organized compendium of current scholarship at the intersection between space history and the popular cultures of science/fiction. It also sheds new light on the often underplayed European contributions to imagining outer space as a richly inhabited human realm. It successfully establishes 'astroculture' as an energetic and growing area of scholarly production and debate." - De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Indiana University, USA


Table of contents (17 chapters)

  • European Astrofuturism, Cosmic Provincialism: Historicizing the Space Age

    Geppert, Alexander C. T.

    Pages 3-24

  • Space, Time and Aliens: The Role of Imagination in Outer Space

    Dick, Steven J.

    Pages 27-44

  • Heaven on Earth: Tunguska, 30 June 1908

    Schmölders, Claudia

    Pages 45-64

  • Imagining Inorganic Life: Crystalline Aliens in Science and Fiction

    Brandstetter, Thomas

    Pages 65-85

  • Projecting Landscapes of the Human Mind onto Another World: Changing Faces of an Imaginary Mars

    Eisfeld, Rainer

    Pages 89-105

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-230-36136-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $130.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-23172-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $125.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-31215-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • This title is currently reprinting. You can pre-order your copy now.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Imagining Outer Space
Book Subtitle
European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century
Authors
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
eBook ISBN
978-0-230-36136-2
DOI
10.1057/9780230361362
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-23172-6
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-31215-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 393
Topics