Embattled Heavens: The Militarization of Space in Science, Fiction, and Politics
Berlin, 10–12 April 2014
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’ addressed 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 complicated established narratives by integrating Western European and global perspectives. Examining astropolitics, technoscientific practices, and science fiction, the goal of this conference was to reconceptualize the history of outer space with a view towards its military dimensions.
Conference speakers included 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).