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Week 13

Theme 3 ‘Big Science’ and national identities

Week 13

Moon Landings and ‘Mankind’: technoscientific internationalism

Although intense competition between ideological systems was certainly a significant -- even a dominant -- aspect of the Space Race, alternative narratives did exist, and did produce important effects. This week, we will look at narratives of internationalism and cooperation in the Space Race, and at the rhetoric and emotions which accompanied the Moon landings and the first images of the Earth taken from space.


Seminar: ‘The Dish’

Using clips from ‘The Dish’ (Roadshow Entertainment/Warner Bros., 2000) and from contemporary media accounts, we will explore the idea of science and technology as both demanding and creating global vs national identities. We will also discuss the very different images of science and technology (think: ‘mad scientist’ vs ‘benevolent boffin’) which have emerged over the course of the 20th and early 21st centuries.


Required Reading:

  • Walter McDougall, … The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985): Part VI Introduction and Chapter 20
  • Hugh R. Slotten ‘Satellite Communications, Globalization, and the Cold War’ Technology and Culture, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 315-350



Background/Further Reading:


Marcos Cueto. Cold War, Deadly Fevers: Malaria Eradication in Mexico, 1955–1975. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007

John Agar, Science and Spectacle: The Work of Jodrell Bank in Postwar British Culture (London: Routledge, 1998)

David Caute, The Dancer Defects. The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Ronald E. Doel ‘Evaluating Soviet Lunar Science in Cold War America’, Osiris, Vol. 7

Jussi M. Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Robert A. Jones, ‘They came in peace for all mankind: popular culture as a reflection of public attitudes to space’, Space Policy, February 2004; Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 45-48

John W Jordan, ‘Kennedy's Romantic Moon and Its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration’ Rhetoric & Public Affairs 6: 2, (Summer 2003) pp. 209-231.

Abby J. Kinchy African Americans in the Atomic Age: Postwar Perspectives on Race and the Bomb, 1945–1967 Technology and Culture, April 2009; Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 291-315

Roger D Lanius, John M Logsdon, Robert W Smith, Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (London: Routledge, 2000).

Pamela E. Mack; ‘Space History’ Technology and Culture, ; Vol. 30, No. 3 1989 pp. 657-665

Walter A. McDougall ‘Technocracy and Statecraft in the Space Age--Toward the History of a Saltation’, The American Historical Review, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Oct., 1982), pp. 1010-1040

Susan E. Reid, ‘The Khrushchev Kitchen: Domesticating the Scientific-Technological Revolution’, Journal of Contemporary History, 40: 2 (Apr., 2005), pp. 289-316.

Hugh R. Slotten Satellite Communications, Globalization, and the Cold War Technology and Culture, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 315-350

Peter H. Smith ‘The Latin American Press and the Space Race’, Journal of Inter-American Studies, Vol. 6, No. 4

Mark Walker, Science and Ideology: A Comparative History (London: Routledge, 2002)

Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Joseph G. Whelan The Press and Khrushchev's "Withdrawal" From the Moon Race The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer, 1968), pp. 233-250

Audra J. Wolfe ‘Germs in Space: Joshua Lederberg, Exobiology, and the Public Imagination, 1958-1964’ Isis, Vol. 93, No. 2


The reading below might be useful as a way to bring either this unit, or our unit on Race, Medicine and Empire together with next unit's focus on Familial Identity and Technologies:

Karen M. Booth A Magic Bullet for the "African" Mother?: Neo-Imperial Reproductive Futurism and the Pharmaceutical "Solution" to the HIV/AIDS Crisis  Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, Fall 2010; Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 349-378