Culture, Identities and Technology in the Star Wars Films

Essays on the Two Trilogies


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About the Book

Released in May 1977, the original Star Wars movie inaugurated the age of the movie blockbuster. It also redefined the use of cinematic special effects, creating a new textual universe that now stretches through three decades, two trilogies and generations of fascinated viewers. The body of critical analysis that has developed from this epic focuses primarily on the Star Wars universe as a contemporary myth. However, like any fiction, it must also be viewed—and consequently analyzed—as a product of the culture which created it.

The essays in this book analyze the Star Wars trilogies as a culturally and historically specific phenomenon. Moving away from the traditional myth-based criticism of the films, the essayists employ a cultural studies model to examine how this phenomenon intersects with social formations such as economics, technology, race and gender. Critical approaches are varied and include political and economic analysis informed by feminism, contemporary race theory, Marxism, new media studies and post-humanism. Among the topics covered are the connections between the trilogies and our own cultural landscape; the problematic issues of race and gender; and the thematic implications of Lucas’ presentation of technology.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Carl Silvio is an assistant professor of English at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. He lives in Rochester.

Tony M. Vinci is an associate professor of English at Ohio University, where he teaches literature and popular culture. His research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literature and culture, ethics, trauma studies, critical posthumanisms, and speculative fiction and film.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Carl Silvio and Tony M. Vinci

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2910-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1106-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Moving Away from Myth: Star Wars as Cultural Artifact  1

1. The Fall of the Rebellion; or, Defiant and Obedient Heroes in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Individualism and Intertextuality in the Star Wars Trilogies  11

2. Apocalyptic Determinism and Star Wars  34

3. The Star Wars Trilogies and Global Capitalism  53


4. May the Force (Not) Be with You: “Race Critical” Readings and the Star Wars Universe  77

5. Feminism and the Force: Empowerment and Disillusionment in a Galaxy Far, Far Away  109

6. Seduced by the Dark Side of the Force: Gender, Sexuality, and Moral Agency in George Lucas’s Star Wars Universe  134


7. Kill Binks: Why the World Hated Its First Digital Actor  155

8. “Your Father’s Lightsaber”: The Fetishization of Objects Between the Trilogies  175

9. The Emperor’s New Clones; or, Digitization and Walter Benjamin in the Star Wars Universe  189

Contributors  215

Works Cited  219

Index  231

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Outstanding”—SFFTV