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The Space Race: A Cultural History in the Cold War Interdisciplinary Studies Program Spring 2024 Semester - Barcelona

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The Space Race: A Cultural History in the Cold War

The Space Race: A Cultural History in the Cold War Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: Pompeu Fabra University
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Primary Subject Area: History
Other Subject Area: Media Studies
Instruction in: English
Transcript Source: Partner Institution
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45


Throughout the study of the public sphere, the pop-culture and the mass media, students will learn the complex dimension of the Space Race and of its centrality in the Cold War dynamics. We will study how the mass media shaped the public imagination in the USA and in USSR during the Space Race. The course will analyse how the mythologies of the ?frontier? both in the USA and in Soviet Union were extended to the interplanetary space. We will study how fears and desires were projected in the Space Race. We will see how each side conceived of the other both as an enemy and as a collaborator, how the Space Race was marketed in terms of competition and collaboration at the same time, becoming with the Apollo-Soyuz project the symbol of the déténte. Throughout the reading of magazines, newspapers, as well as the analysis of TV shows, novels and science fiction movies, we will see how the Space Race influenced the daily life in the USA and in USSR, as well as gender, sex and ethnic relations. We will focus on memoirs of astronauts, engineers, politicians and policymakers and of other actors to see how the main characters of the story perceived the history of the Space Race and were perceived in the public sphere. The study of the cultural industry will allow us to unveil certain features of the making of what Dwight Eisenhower defined the military- industrial complex. We will also have a quick view to nowadays and future perspectives of the space conquest.

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