Discovery rhetoric is a tool of the frontier myth to perpetuate imperialism
(Mary. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR B.A. Harvard University; PhD UCLA. Heroic Narratives of Quest and Discovery. Project Muse. The Johns Hopkins University Press and the Society for Literature and Science. Pp.223-242. Accessed 6/25/11. EL)
The "new science" of the seventeenth century has long been linked to the voyages of discovery that expanded the conceptual and physical horizons of the European world.5 For Francis Bacon,the very existence of hitherto-unknown places and phenomena inspired a challenge to established ways of seeing the world: by the distant voyages and travels which have become frequent in our times, many things have been laid open and discovered which may let in new light upon philosophy. And surely it would be disgraceful if, while the regions of the material globe . . . have been in our time laid widely open and revealed, the intellectual globe should remain shut up within the narrow limits of old discoveries. 6 In Bacon's view, travel effectively opened up unexpected hidden treasures to the European gaze. The exploration of unfamiliar geographical territory led to discoveries more profound than the particular new phenomena witnessed on the voyage. Bacon's image of the traveler "laying open" distant regions gives the discoverer the power to reveal knowledge to his contemporaries. By the eighteenth century, scientific voyagers dispatched to obtain crucial data were stepping into a well-established tradition of voyages of exploration, even though they were not exploring simply for the sake of finding novelties. Their very willingness to travel beyond the limits of the familiar implied an openness to new ways of seeing and thinking. Their narratives of discovery drew on several generations of voyage literature for some of their literary conventions, while integrating technical accounts of scientific results into their stories. 7 I look here at several astronomical expeditions mounted by the Paris Academy of Sciences to bring measurements back to France from distant parts of the world. Long-distance journeys to exotic destinations provided scientific travelers in the eighteenth century with a model for narratives of their heroic quest for truth. Set in exotic locales, the accounts invoked famous discoveries of new parts of the globe and linked the discovery of arcane scientific knowledge to the popular genre of travel literature. Heroic accounts of scientific expeditions contributed to the representation of science as the accomplishment [End Page 226] of individuals with exceptional physical and moral qualities. In France, this had partly to do with the gradual evaporation of an ideal of corporate collective pursuit of knowledge and the related intensification of individualism. Scientific voyages presented the opportunity to serve the Academy and the state, while simultaneously enhancing individual honor and reputation through tales of heroic feats. These tales instantiated the relation of science to state power, since that power made the expeditions possible. Expedition narratives also underlined the gendered nature of scientific work, as the exploits of heroes were construed in explicitly masculine terms.
Link – Science Fiction
Science Fiction is imperialistic and securitizing in portraying aliens and space as a frontier that needs to be conquered
(Gregg Rewell, 2001, University of Arizona, Colonizing the Universe: Science Fictions Then, Now, and in the (Imagined) Future, Rocky Mountain Review of Literature, Volume 55, Number 2, 2001, pg 26-28, 13/06/11, DA:6/21/11, CP) Despite - or perhaps in spite of- scientific and technological advances, in the morning of the 2 l1 century the universe registers in the popular imagination much as it did in Wilson's 19'h-century mind. While orthodox Christians,M uslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and people of other creeds may profess to believe otherwise,to many the universe is a "place" habited and inhabitable, by friendly and hostile beings, a place where, sooner or later, humans will dare to travel, point camcorders, and plant flags. This is, after all, the fantasy of the science fiction literature and film industry- not to mention NASA2 - and of the many space minded people whose web sites mean to enable galactic colonization. While the science fiction industry purports to be "new," to use as vehicle for its tenor the most advanced sciences and technologies - even when merely inventions of convenience (rather than necessity), such as those hand-held communicating devices that made it possible for Star Trek's Enterprise crew members Captain JamesT . Kirk and Mr. Spock to converse over long distances - its "new" is nonetheless delimited by the ranges and productions of the human imagination. As Fredric Jameson argues, the science fiction industry's "deepest vocation is over and over again to demonstrate and to dramatize our incapacity to imagine the future"( 153): most science fiction "does not seriously attempt to imagine the 'real' future of our social system. Rather, its multiple mock futures serve the quite different function of transforming our own present into the determinate past of something yet to come"(152). If First Lieutenant Wilson's projection into the universe of hostile invaders of earth may have been extraordinary in 1882, it would be, and is, quite commonplace today - consider, for one recent example among a plethora, 1996's What Wilson's fantasy and Independence Day have in common is fear of colonization, which for the most part informs the whole of the science fiction industry's productions.That is, the literature of earthly colonization, producedlargely by colonizing Europeans and Americans, and those early colonists' constructions of an "other" have informed ways the science fiction industry has understood its relationship to more recently constructed Others - those allegedly from outer-space. As a result, the science fiction industry has essentially borrowed from, technologically modernized, and recast the plots, scenes, and tropes of the literature of earthly colonization - but without, except in rare cases, questioning, critiquing, or moving beyond the colonizing impulse. But apparently this would be news to the science fiction industry. Most books written about science fiction begin by trying to define its subject, offering an answer to the question, "What is science fiction?"3M lost formulations end to claim one of several elements - science and technology, human, or change, in whatever form - make a fiction a science fiction. In 1961, however, Kingsley Amis fore grounded something since oft overlooked when, following Edmund Crispin's work on the detective story,A misclaimed that the "hero" of a science fiction tale is often the plot itself, and then the "idea" that the plot must resolve (137). Put another way, the motivations and resolutions of a generic science fiction plot are often its heroic or seminal qualities. Underlying most science fiction plots is the Science Fictions Then, Now, and in the (Imagined) Future colonial narrative, whether or not readers and viewers of science fiction readily recognize it. The term "science" implies fact, knowledge, certitude, while the addition of "fiction" on the one hand seems to contradict an implicit scientific code of accountability but on another points to the active role of the imagination in the creation and the experience of science fiction, whether literary or cinematic. Those experiencing science fiction may accept and thus believe as plausible or may reject its science as well as the cultural context enabling the trajectory of the plot.4But, as Darko Suvin has shown, a science fiction text is senseless without "a given socio-historical context": "Outside of a context that supplies the conditions of making sense, no text can be even read.... Only the insertion of a text into a context makes it intelligible"( "NarrativeL ogic"1 ). Science fiction productions, then, rely on what Suvin calls a "universe of discourse" to be intelligible ("Narrative Logic"2 ). The "dark"sun in the galaxy of science fiction, I argue, is the imagination that informs science fiction, that takes from and revises earth history, puts I out there, in a (de)familiarized but cognitively plausible and contextually recognizable "future," even if"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...." In very general terms, there are two basic types, and related plot-projections, of alien-contact science fiction films: one inward, one outward; one dealing with alien visitors to or invaders of earth, one chronicling the experiences of earthlings in space- in Star Trek parlance, that "final frontier."I n the former category, these aliens are sometimes well-meaning, friendly beings who drop by to help the inhabitantsof earth mature, become universal citizens, such as in the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still; the 1956 cult-classic Plan 9 from Outer Space, whose good alien Eros means to lend a hand to the humans he calls a "stupid" race; or the more recent 1996 often these aliens who visit earth are hostile beings or bug-eyed monsters (BEMs) bent on destroying the planet and its inhabitants, enslaving humans and imposing is the plot-motivating intention of First Contacts Borg.Often these sorts involve the fantasy of human control, which typically comes in two forms: a fantasy projected onto aliens who intend to take over or enslave the human body, such as in 1953's Invaders from Mars or 1955's Invasion of the BodySnatchers or a not so fantastic reality in which humans mean to control humans, as represented in 1984, on a literary text, each also has the all-too-familiar trope of a woman, and in these examples a white woman, seemingly in need of masculine protection. Sometimes it is not humans, however, but aliens who desire to mate with and control the female of the species (ever since D.W. Griffith's 1915 production Birth of a Nation the threat of miscegenation has motivated many a plot and much violence) as one 1958 film made evident in its title, IMarrieda Monsterfrom Outer Space, and another more bluntly in 1966, Mars Needs Women. Finally, in some instances the plot motivation of the earth-bound,a lien-lacking science fiction production is the result of some aberrant or malign scientific project or of an environmental catastrophe, resulting in something as big as Godzilla, as misunderstood as the Frankenstein monster, as angry as a tomato, or as small as a fly. But it is the latter sort of film, those projecting earthly desires and anxieties outward, into the universe, which are in question here. Of these, there are three which I call the explorative, the domesticative, and the combative. In the explorative and with the possibility of human contact with the often-unfriendly beings inhabiting these foreign worlds. In these cases, the focus is less on the culture or civilization of these otherworld beings than on the physical and psychological torment the galactic colonist experiences. his focus is very much in line with what Perry Miller called the Puritans'" errand in to the wilderness,"5w here the concern is not on the effect the Puritansh ad on the local Pequot,M assachusetN, arraganset, Wampanoag, Pocasset, Nipuc, Nauset, Seneca, and Iroquois tribes but on the Puritans project, experiences,and intellectual productions, which then justify the Puritan invasion. One critic of science fiction literature even goes so far as to claim that "the wilderness theme has now become the property" of science fiction(68).6 Clearly Frederick Jackson Turnerw as wrong in 1893 to call the frontier closed, for the westward gaze has merely moved upward (not to be confused with inward) toward what Star Trek perhaps too boldly called the final frontier.