The Imagination of Disaster Paper
HIEA 4501/STS 3500
16 March 2015
Last paper you were asked to explain how three different theorists might approach the concept of “disaster” from within their own systems. You did not need to have a thesis or conclusion, only to keep the voices clear and the terminology consistent. In this paper we will add a new requirement. You will need a thesis, but as one more chance to practice using a consistent critical viewpoint you will not have to come up with your own thesis. Instead, here, you will adopt Susan Sontag’s thesis from “The Imagination of Disaster.” Use the paragraph taken from p 48 of her essay as your own thesis and use it to write a paper (1500 words) on either 1954 film Gojira or 1971 Gojira vs. Hedora.
“There is absolutely no social criticism, of even the most implicit kind, in science fiction films. No criticism, for example, of the conditions of our society which create the impersonality and dehumanization which science fiction fantasies displace onto the influence of an alien It. Also, the notion of science as a social activity, interlocking with social and political interests, is unacknowledged. Sicen is simply either adventure (for good or evil) or a technical response to danger. And, typically, when the fear of science is paramount—when science is conceived of as black magic rather than white—the evil has no attribution beyond that of the perverse will of an individual scientist.”
Making explicit references to our texts and the films Take this as your position on Gojira or Gojira vs. Hedora. The paragraph only states the problem. Your paper must demonstrate this statement. Stay tied to Sontag’s argument, but you can and should use all that we have studied so far as material to demonstrate the inadequacy of Gojira to convey the problem of nuclear or toxic fear/science/trauma/etc.
Due on Wed March 25 by 5 pm.
As before turn in your papers under the Assignments tab in Collab.
Papers received after 5 pm will be “one day late” and reduced one-third of a grade, ie from B+ to B. Papers received after midnight on Wednesday the 15th will be “two days late” and reduced two thirds, ie from B+ to B-. Midnight on Friday = “three days late” with further reduction, and so on.