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HISTORY 335L: Alien Imaginations: Extraterrestrial Speculations in Modern European History

( History 235L is an undergraduate course offered for 5 units; History 335L is a graduate course offered for 4-5 units.) This course will examine the historical basis and evolution of modern European beliefs concerning the existence and nature of alien life throughout the universe, and the ways in which these imagined alien beings have historically reflected an interplay of social, religious, political, and scientific assumptions, hopes, fears, and preoccupations. We will explore the relationship between belief in extraterrestrial life and historical themes and episodes in European history including the debate over heliocentrism, deism and freethought, theories of life and of human nature, changing concepts of national identity, and the intertwined histories of immigration, colonialism, race, and gender. We will particularly examine how and why concepts of the alien took a dark and sinister turn across the late nineteenth- and early-to-mid-twentieth centuries.
Terms: Sum | Units: 4-5
Instructors: Daly, J. (PI)
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