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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

The Roswell UFO Incident and American Popular Cultural Responses to the Technologies of Space Flight.

UFO-logy is the mythology of the space age. It is the product of the creative imagination. It serves a poetic and existential function. It seeks to give man deeper roots and bearings in the universe. It is an expression of our hunger for mystery...our hope for transcendental meaning. The gods of Mt. Olympus have been transformed into space voyagers, transporting us by our dreams to other realms. This paper broadly analyzes the intersection of the emergent United States manned space program, the Cold War, and the UFO “craze” of the 1950s. More specifically, this paper considers the Roswell Incident as an American popular cultural response not to any real threat of “alien” invasion, but to the perceived threats of the technologies of space flight; threats that could only be conjured and circulated within the socio-political and scientific environment of the early Cold War. This papers examines the way in which the incident, occurring during the early years of the Cold War, was reconstituted not only as a matter of national security, but as a matter of national insecurity; an insecurity possible only within the highly scientifically- and technologically-charged early days of American pioneering efforts in manned space flight.

Presenter: Mary Buggie-Hunt (Faculty)
Topic: History
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 9:45 am (Session I)