Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Human Communications

First Advisor

Darrin K. Hicks, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Thomas Nail, Ph.D.


Affect studies, Alienhood, Border security, Extraterrestrial film, Migration, Movement


Alien Affects is a materialist examination of the ways citizenship landscapes are shaped by three mechanisms of control - extraterrestrial film, border security, and the legal apparatuses of the State - that accelerate flows of dominant national citizenship and hinder the movements of migrants. As bodies move through borders and through communities in the US, they are subjected to techniques of citizenship control that divide citizens from aliens. This political division maximizes the State's capacity to benefit from the mobility of its preferred citizen groups while subjugating its alien groups - those who might be characterized as such because they have a different tone (skin tone, vocal tone, affective tone). These techniques channel alien groups into citizenship control apparatuses (surveillance, detention, and deportation) where there movements are limited; often-benefiting private detention apparatuses those invested in them.

Alien Affects sets out to explicate the threefold relationship occurring within the cultural-military-industrial complex between cinema (namely extraterrestrial arrival cinema), migration control apparatuses, and the defense of constitutive citizenship laws. I am arguing that what connects each of these aspects of citizenship landscaping are the technologies of illumination (and those who develop them) that add layers of visibility to articulations of state power. The development of these technologies is funded by the US's lawmakers and they are used to create filmic alien affects in today's Hollywood alien arrival films. Bordering agents also adopt them to amplify alien affects on bodies moving through migration control apparatuses. The method used in this examination not only draws attention to the ways technologies are mobilized in each of these mechanisms, but also focuses on the flows that are moving between them.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Michael Andrew Lechuga

File size

263 p.

File format





Rhetoric, Philosophy, Film Studies