Beyond Apocalyptic Shorthand and Motivational Tools: A Transdisciplinary Encounter with Science Fiction Studies

19 January 2024, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Science fiction is currently a buzzword to describe a rapidly unfolding and shockingly unfolding future in mainstream media and in I.R./political science where it describes shocking, destabilizing new technologies that seemingly appear out of nowhere. While not always persistent, this use can be traced as far back as the early Cold War. Science fiction also is used as a classroom motivational tool and thus as a pedagogical enhancement for complex theories, rather than an important source of insights. What might be possible if science fiction were taken seriously on its own in the study of politics? How might political studies be strengthened through both science fiction stories and scholarship? This paper argues that I.R./political science recognizes science fiction not as genre or politics but instead as a signal of three dangers: 1) illogic; 2) undergraduate lack of interest in conceptual reading, and 3) apocalyptic calamities.


intellectual history
discourse analysis
science fiction
popular culture
international relations
CS Pierce


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