Excavating Indiana Jones

Essays on the Films and Franchise

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About the Book

With his signature bullwhip and fedora, the rousing sounds of his orchestral anthem, and his eventful explorations into the arcana of world religions, Indiana Jones—archeologist, adventurer, and ophidiophobe—has become one of the most recognizable heroes of the big screen. Since his debut in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has gone on to anchor several sequels, and a fifth film is currently in development. At the same time, the character has spilled out into multiple multimedia manifestations and has become a familiar icon within the collective cultural imagination.

Despite the longevity and popularity of the Indiana Jones franchise, however, it has rarely been the focus of sustained criticism. In Excavating Indiana Jones, a collection of international scholars analyzes Indiana Jones tales from a variety of perspectives, examining the films’ representation of history, cultural politics, and identity, and also tracing the adaptation of the franchise into comic books, video games, and theme park attractions.

About the Author(s)

Randy Laist is a professor of English at Goodwin College in East Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of three books, as well as numerous articles on literature, popular culture, and pedagogy.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Randy Laist
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7692-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3972-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Randy Laist) 1
History
Situating Indy: American Archaeologists, Global Ambitions
and the Interwar Years (Andrew W. Bell) 13
Fordian Knots: Indiana Jones and the Cinema of John Ford (Brian Brems) 25
“You call this archaeology?” Indiana Jones and Hollywood’s
View on the Nature of History (Ryan Staude) 38
Cultural Politics
Translocations, Cultural Geography and Anthropological
Imperialism in Raiders of the Lost Ark (Tatiana Prorokova) 51
“I said no camels!” Indiana Jones and the Catalogue
of Orientalism (Mat Hardy) 64
The Temple of Orientalism (Debaditya Mukhopadhyay ) 76
The Quest for “Alien” Indigenous Knowledge in Indiana Jones
and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Kasey ­Jones-Matrona) 87
Identity
Indiana Jones and the Crusade for Authenticity (Siobhan Lyons) 103
“I came to find my father”: Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Lost Father (Linda Wight) 114
Indiana Jones as Educated Swashbuckler (Jennifer Crumley) 126
“It belongs in a museum,” or Does It? Indiana Jones,
Artifactology and the Afterlives of Objects (Kerry Dodd) 136
Extended Franchise
Raiders of the Lost Longbox: Rediscovering The Further
Adventures of Indiana Jones (Joseph S. Walker) 151
The Shadow of the Archaeologist: Archetypes of Evil in Marvel’s
The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones (Brian A. Dixon) 164
“We’ll always have Iceland, Indy”: Indiana Jones and His Adventures in Video Games (Carl Wilson) 178
Indiana Jones and the Theme Park Adventure (Sabrina Mittermeier) 192
About the Contributors 203
Index 207

Book Reviews & Awards

“As befits a franchise whose protagonist is a scholar, Excavating Indiana Jones: Essays on the Film and Franchise pays close attention to the sources, craft, and afterlives of this famous archaeologist. While the essays come from a place of general appreciation, they are admirably critical in their engagement with many crucial aspects of the films, comics, video games, and theme park rides focused on Jones. In particular, this collection builds on extant critiques of the franchise’s colonialism, muddled sense of history, and Spielbergian hang-up on father figures while delving into new explorations of things like the transmedia legacies of the brand and its indebtedness to real-life adventurers and filmmakers, such as John Ford. The book does not belong in a museum so much as it belongs in a library!”—Kevin M. Flanagan, George Mason University