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The Extraterrestrial in US Culture

Harrison, Mark Lowery (2006) The Extraterrestrial in US Culture. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation provides a cultural analysis of the figure of the extraterrestrial in US culture. The sites through which the extraterrestrial appears -- spiritualism, so-called "space brother" religions, unidentified flying objects, and alien abduction -- are understood as elements of an ongoing displaced utopian imaginary. This mode of utopian thought is characterized by recourse to figures of radical alterity (spirits of the dead, "ascended masters," and the gray) as agents of radical social change; by its homologies with contemporaneous political currents; and through its invocation of trance states for counsel from the various others imagined as primary agents of change. Ultimately, the dissertation argues that the extraterrestrial functions as the locus both for the resolution of tensions between the spiritual and the material and for the projection of a perfected subject into a utopian future.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Harrison, Mark
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStabile, Carol
Committee MemberFusfield, Bill
Committee MemberArac, Jonathan
Committee MemberSterne, Jonathan
Date: 2 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 April 2006
Approval Date: 2 June 2006
Submission Date: 31 March 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: abject; alien abduction; culture; gender; positivism; religion; space brothers; Spiritualism; trance; UFO; utopia; nineteenth century; the Real
Other ID:, etd-03312006-110850
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:37


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