Embattled Heavens. The Militarization of Space in Science, Fiction, and Politics

Embattled Heavens. The Militarization of Space in Science, Fiction, and Politics

"Die Zukunft in den Sternen: Europäischer Astrofuturismus und außerirdisches Leben im 20. Jahrhundert", Emmy Noether-Forschergruppe, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Freie Universität Berlin, Henry Ford-Bau
Vom - Bis
10.04.2014 - 12.04.2014
Geppert, Alexander C.T.

For much of the twentieth century, outer space has been envisioned as not only a site of heavenly utopias, but also the ultimate battlefield. Concentrating on weapons, warfare, and violence, this conference explores the military dimensions of astroculture in the period between 1942 and 1990. By highlighting the militarization of extraterrestrial frontiers and conquest in politics and popular culture alike, ‘Embattled Heavens’ addresses the complex processes that oscillate between peaceful and aggressive characteristics of human endeavors in outer space. While the Space Age is usually associated with Cold War history, this conference complicates established narratives by integrating Western European and global perspectives. Examining astropolitics, technoscientific practices, and science fiction, our goal is to reconceptualize the history of outer space with a view towards its military dimensions.

Conference speakers include David Edgerton (King's College London), Bernd Greiner (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung), Michael J. Neufeld (National Air and Space Museum), Alex Roland (Duke University) and Michael Sheehan (Swansea University).

Registration is required to attend the conference. For further information please contact Daniel Brandau and Tilmann Siebeneichner at astrofuturismus@fu-berlin.de or visit http://www.heavens.geschkult.fu-berlin.de.



– THURSDAY, 10 April 2014 –

10:00 Introduction
Alexander C.T. Geppert, Daniel Brandau and Tilmann Siebeneichner: Heavenly Utopias and Ultimate Battlefields. The Dark Side of Global Astroculture

10:30 Feature Presentation I
Alex Roland (Durham): The Cold War in Space

11:45 Panel I: Angst
Chair: Markus Pöhlmann (Potsdam)
Chris Gainor (Sidney, CA): The Nuclear Roots of ICBMs
Greg Eghigian (Philadelphia): Flying Saucers, America, and the Specter of War in Postwar Germany, 1946–1960

14:00 Panel II: Territories
Chair: Katie Boyce-Jacino (Baltimore)
Dierk Spreen (Lüneburg): Global Security and Spatial Revolution
Danilo Flores (Berlin): Envisioning Infiltration. Epistemic Border Disputes of Militarized Astroculture

15:30 Panel III: Evolutions
Chair: Jana Bruggmann (Berlin)
Jordan Bimm (Toronto): Simulating Mars in the 1950s and the Military Origins of Astrobiology
Patrick Kilian (Zurich): Darwin vs. Cyborg. Cold War’s Struggle for Evolutionary Fitness in Space

17:00 Panel IV: Plots
Chair: Daniel Brandau (Berlin)
Jörg Hartmann (Karlsruhe): “Weltraumschiff I startet.” The Dual-Use of a Spaceflight-Science-Fiction-Film between Fact and Fiction, V-2 and Sputnik
Matthias Hurst (Berlin): “Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffs Orion.” Defending Earth in a German Spaceship

– FRIDAY, 11 April 2014 –

09:00 Feature Presentation II
Michael Sheehan (Swansea): Star Wars – Mars against Venus. Strategy, Science Fiction, and Contrasting Visions of Space Security

10:15 Panel V: Infrastructures
Chair: Eva-Maria Silies (Berlin)
Regina Peldszus (Darmstadt): Architecture of Command. Dual-Use Legacy in Mission Control Centers of Civilian Space Operations
Isabell Schrickel (Lüneburg): The Geopolitics of Space Mirrors

11:45 Panel VI: Domination
Chair: Tilmann Siebeneichner (Berlin)
Cathleen Lewis (Washington, DC): Space Spies in the Open. Military Space Stations and Heroic Cosmonauts after the Moon Race, 1971–1975
Paweł Frelik (Lublin): War Play. Space Combat and Galactic Conquests in Arcade and Computer Games

14:00 Panel VII: Depictions
Chair: Tobias Becker (Berlin)
Colleen Anderson (Cambridge, MA): The Militarization of Outer Space in East and West German Satirical Cartoons, 1957–1989
Oliver Dunnett (Belfast): C. S. Lewis and the Moral Threat of Space Exploration

15:30 Panel VIII: Utopias
Chair: Thore Bjørnvig (Copenhagen)
Simon Spiegel (Zurich): Utopian Soldiers. Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” as Utopian Novel
Philipp Theisohn (Zurich): The Suits of Invasion. Extra-Terrestrial Warfare and the ‘Clothing’ of the Body Politic in Twentieth-Century Fiction

– SATURDAY, 12 April 2014 –

09:00 Panel IX: Strategies
Anthony W. Enns (Halifax): Satellites and Psychics. The Militarization of Outer and Inner Space
Diethard Sawicki (Paderborn): Heating up the Ionosphere and Owning the Weather? High Power Auroral Stimulation in Defense Scenarios and Conspiracy Theories

10:30 Panel X: Surveillance
Chair: Robert Poole (Manchester)
Patryk Wasiak (Wrocław): Visual Imagery and the Public Life of Anti-Satellite Weapon Systems
Paul E. Ceruzzi (Washington, DC): The Global Positioning System. Military Origins, Civilian Application, and the Culture of Precise Positioning

13:00 Panel Discussion: Reconfigurations
Chair: Alexander C.T. Geppert (Berlin)
David Edgerton (London) / Bernd Greiner (Hamburg) / Michael Neufeld (Washington, DC)

16:00 End of Conference


Daniel Brandau and Tilmann Siebeneichner
Die Zukunft in den Sternen: Europäischer Astrofuturismus und außerirdisches Leben im 20. Jahrhundert
Freie Universität Berlin
Koserstraße 20
D-14195 Berlin

Tel. +49 (30) 838-568 99
Fax +49 (30) 838-568 26