CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Cultures of Space Travel

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Dr David John Bell
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The Cultures of Space Travel: From Apollo to Space Tourism

A Sociological Review Monograph

Edited by Martin Parker (University of Leicester)
David Bell (University of Leeds)

One of the most iconic moments of the twentieth century was the first
Apollo moon landing, which has its 40th anniversary in 2009. The images of
the Earth from space, of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon, the massive
cold war organisation of NASA and the Soviet space program, and the
countless books, films and products associated with space travel have a
huge significance in terms of popular culture and artistic practice.
However, it is remarkable how little impact the space age has had on the
social sciences and humanities more specifically. Perhaps this is partly
because its combination of military-industrial cold war politics, combined
with patriarchy and big science, sits uneasily with contemporary thought
in these areas. To put it simply, it is hard to be ‘for’ space travel in a
context of globalising inequality, and a supposed climate of suspicion
about grand narratives. To admit an interest in such matters is likely to
suggest a wilful detachment from the urgencies of contemporary life, or
the sophistications of contemporary theory, unless it is a topic being
used to demonstrate the catastrophic failures of complex organization, or
the hubris of nation states, or the dreams of men.

We believe that these matters are not reducible to such simplistic
dismissals. And when a topic is hugely important in popular culture, but
almost invisible in the academy, it makes us want to ask questions about
visibility, or perhaps self-censorship. So this book seeks to fill that
gap by providing an interdisciplinary collection of essays on various
aspects of NASA, the moon landings and space travel generally. This is not
a book about cultural studies, or history, or the sociology of technology,
or politics, or management, or science fiction -- yet all these will be
involved in thinking through the implications of space travel for the way
that human beings have imagined ourselves and the universe around us. The
book will travel from hard science and engineering to space romance,
echoing the variety of attempts to blur science and culture that we hope
to find in the chapters.

Topic areas we would welcome submissions around include:

• The economics of space travel
• Alternative space programs
• Technoscience in space
• Space science fact and fiction
• The politics of the space age
• Popular cultures of space travel
• Gender in space
• Space age management
• Histories of the space age
• The archaeology of the space age
• Space conspiracies and folk myths

Deadlines and Word Length
Please send a brief abstract or synopsis by November 1st 2007. Full first
drafts will be required by July 1st 2008, final revised versions by
December 1st 2008. Final chapters should be 5-6000 words long, including
notes and references.

In the first instance, please email the editors:;

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Received on Mon Aug 20 2007 - 08:45:06 EDT

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