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"A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away": Myth and Fantasy in US Foreign Policy and Star Wars

"A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away": Myth and Fantasy in US Foreign Policy and Star Wars
100 St. George Street, Room 3130, Sidney Smith Hall
Time: Feb 19th, 12:00 pm End: Feb 19th, 2:00 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, Political Science, 2000-
Talk by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University

The Munk School of Global Affairs and the Department of Political Science present:

FIRST! (Friday IR Seminar and Tea!)

"A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away": Myth and Fantasy in US Foreign Policy and Star Wars

Despite the outer-space setting and the prominence of laser pistols and lightsabers, Star Wars is more of a work of epic fantasy than it is a work of science fiction. This is most apparent in the fact that good and evil are in a sense baked into the fabric of the universe that we see on screen; this is not a morally neutral world, but a normatively directed one in which the Light and Dark Sides grapple for supremacy, and the viewer is more or less explicitly placed on the side of the angels. Massively successful pop-cultural artifacts draw from the same cultural and conceptual well as the legitimating strategies for government policies do, and hence it is not at all surprising to see discourses of US foreign policy mirroring the structure of this most successful of US film franchises. In this paper I argue that both Star Wars and the US foreign policy imaginary are framed by the myth of "manifest destiny," and draw conclusions from this about the "fantastic" character of US foreign policy.

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is currently Professor of International Relations and Associate Dean for Curriculum and Learning in the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, DC. He previously taught at Columbia University and New York University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 2001. In 2003-2004, he served as President of the International Studies Association-Northeast; in 2012-2013, he did so again. He is presently the Series Editor of the University of Michigan Press' book series Configurations: Critical Studies of World Politics, and the Web Editor for International Studies Quarterly. A second edition of his award-winning book The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations is forthcoming from Routledge in 2016.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact Sari Sherman at (416) 978-4725

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