Could there be extraterrestrial life in the cosmos? Scientists say yes, possibly billions of planets in our galaxy alone, according to recent discoveries. What would happen in an encounter between humans and intelligent aliens? Since the beginning of cinema, the figure of the alien has visited the big screen with its promise of otherworldly wonders and its threat of unthinkable perils. Why do we find the alien movie so alluring? How do we understand themes of alien encounters in relation to the realities of our human world? This course explores how alien encounters reflect the haunting of historical realities (such European voyages of discovery, conquest, and colonization) as well as contemporary issues, such as international conflict (war or global migration), questions of identity (race, gender, sexuality), and the power and perils of emerging technologies (nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, space travel). Imagining encounters with intelligent beings beyond our own cultural and ideological sphere provides powerful new perspectives on what we think we know about the world, about ourselves, and about others.
Special Topics- Alien Encounters
Monday, March 12, 2018 to Friday, May 25, 2018