Keynote Speakers

The FWPCA in Spaaaace!

Peter Steeves
Professor of Philosophy
Director of the DePaul Humanities Center
DePaul University
with
Danielle Meijer
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University
Artistic Director, Aleph World Fusion Dance

This coming summer—on July 20, 2019—we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11’s successful landing on the moon and the first time humans set foot on a planetary body other than the Earth. Today, as we contemplate a future on Mars and perhaps even a Trump-led Space Force, the echoes of Matt Damon in The Martian and countless actors zipping around as Buck Rogers precede us. From Sputnik on, we always take the best and the worst with us wherever we go—even beyond the planet. For at least the last century, colonialism, racism, and patriarchy have been at the fore when we have conceptualized our presence in space. Yet there are outliers. Georges Méliès’ celebrated 1902 silent film, A Trip to the Moon, makes the problem of imperialism central to the narrative. Gil Scott-Heron’s indictment of privilege in the form of the poem/song, “Whitey on the Moon,” landed just weeks before Neil Armstrong took his small step. And long ago, native Hawaiians sang and danced praises to the moon without ever thinking it was appropriate to try to visit their lunar neighbor. From first orbits, to the moon, to Mars, and beyond, we will think together about the aesthetics, ethics, politics, and social-cultural import of space travel, inaugurating the thirty-first annual FWPCA/ACA with an evening featuring live dance performances and out-of-this-world surprises and souvenirs for everyone in attendance!