Wandering into the Wasteland: White American Masculinities in the Apocalyptic Science Fiction Road Narrative

Wintle, Heather (2013) Wandering into the Wasteland: White American Masculinities in the Apocalyptic Science Fiction Road Narrative. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the portrayal of American white male subjects within the apocalyptic science fiction road narrative, focusing on two visual media in which this genre hybrid features prominently: film and comics. The study builds upon an embryonic body of scholarship addressing several structural, iconographic and thematic connections between the road genre and apocalyptic science fiction. In responding to the call for further research into the road genre’s spread across media, the study observes that apocalyptic road films and comics complicate the dominant critical narrative regarding the road movie’s increasing emphasis upon racially and sexually diverse travellers. Interrogating this discrepancy with an awareness of its ramifications for female, black and queer secondary characters’ representation, the thesis demonstrates how the apocalyptic science fiction road narrative has been persistently and primarily used as a forum for examining, indulging and critiquing various conceptualisations of American white masculinity and associated desires and anxieties. Each chapter conducts a textual analysis of a selection of case studies that foreground a particular ‘type’ of male traveller prevalent throughout apocalyptic road films and comics released between 1975 and 2013. These discussions utilise a mixed methodology combining reference to studies of apocalyptic fiction, the road genre and their integration, formalist work on comics that positions the medium in relation to film, and appropriate work on cultural representations of whiteness and masculinity. The first two chapters address several approaches to the correspondence between male power, communal involvement and the vehicle’s changing role throughout action-oriented post-apocalyptic narratives. Chapter 3 investigates the correlation between post-apocalyptic settings and thwarted narratives of adolescent maturation. Chapter 4 examines the recent concern with paternal agency and violence in traumatic journeys undertaken by fathers and children. Lastly, Chapter 5 explores the masculine crises arising from the road’s displacement by other, digitally enabled and/or fantastical forms of mobility.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film,Television and Media
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 11:56
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2016 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/47956
DOI:

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