MEDS 170 - Star Wars: Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
According to Fred Botting, author of Gothic, “Postmodernism, emerging as a global aesthetic style at the end of the 1970s and associated with the wider transformations of modernity, seemed particularly hospitable to the resuscitation of gothic forms and figures.” The theatrical release of Star Wars in 1977 marked one such occasion. The film’s revolutionary blend of science fiction and fantasy is built upon a foundation of gothic tropes and devices from the dysfunctional families and Mephistophelean tempters of the 18th century to the Inquisition prisons and revolutionary anxieties of the 19th century. How might our contemporary understanding of the Star Wars canon develop if we view it through this critical lens that highlights psychological violence, transgression, and excess as a way of unbalancing the hierarchies of good and evil, free will and predestination, tyranny and liberty?
Together we examine the gothic elements of Star Wars across representational media (including films, storyboards, comics, propaganda posters, short stories, and toys) in order to better understand the ways in which Star Wars engages with the experience of (neo)Imperialism. The Skywalker saga projects a particularly gothic sense of loss and dislocation (of history, culture, identity, and autonomy) by displaying the terrors and traumas of colonization: subjugation, banishment, enforced assimilation, slavery, and genocide. As a paragon of political resistance to the patterns of retributive violence, Star Wars invites us to consider gothic fiction as a crucible for self-knowledge and deliberate action.
Prerequisite(s): Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.
Two 75-minute periods.
Not offered in 2023/24.
Course Format: CLS
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