Professor Matthew Tinkcom has won a Georgetown Senior Faculty Research Grant for the spring 2017 semester which will allow him the opportunity to complete three chapters of his new book, Allegories of Pleasure: Global Science Fiction Cinema and the Technologies of Gender.
The book examines science fiction cinema produced in the past two decades through the critical lens of sex/gender theory and the study of science and technology. Situated at the intersection of media studies, gender studies and science and technology studies, this interdisciplinary book critiques science-fiction films to discover the relations among identity, reproduction, human/non-human ecologies, human/machinic interactions, work, leisure, family and social life. Further, recent science fiction films reveal the importance of the genre for film-makers to imagine different meanings for human embodiment in the socio-technological environment, most notably how gender and sexuality are pertinent to considering the relations of men and women to new innovations of communications, urban space, transportation, food sourcing etc. as they relate to the social life of families, corporations, schools and universities, activist communities, religious life, and others.
Allegories of Pleasure includes films that are part of a global science fiction cinema that has emerged in previously unheralded production spaces such as China, South Africa, Cameroon, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, France and Ireland, as well as films that have resulted from the migration of non-U.S. filmmakers to the United States to produce and direct science fiction cinema in American corporate film-making. These films respond to Hollywood’s long-standing dominance of the genre by borrowing from the U.S. cinema’s narrative and formal techniques while concurrently adapting them to local concerns; thus they take advantage of how Hollywood science fiction has prepared audiences for the genre while simultaneously expanding upon sci-fi motifs to encompass new and different audience interests. Global science fiction films thus paradoxically gain attention both because audiences are acquainted with the conventions of the genre (such as innovative visual and sound effects, fantastic life-forms, new technologies) while exploring more specific issues such as changing gender roles, reproductive technologies and their politics, and the organization of the family.