Date of Award
Armond R. Towns, Ph.D.
Cosmos, Modernity, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Race, Science discourse, Sylvia Wynter
This thesis investigates the entanglements of "modernity/coloniality," Western conceptualizations of time and space, and questions of the "human" as they are situated in contemporary Western science discourse and thought. Through a textual analysis of the 2014 science television documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey presented by famous black astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, I argue Tyson refuses to discuss race as it relates to Western science on three levels in Cosmos: the racialized logic inherent in Western science, the sociohistorical relationship between European colonial racial subjugation and the emergence of contemporary Western science, and Tyson's experience as a black man in the sciences. I contend that this race-neutral framing of contemporary science discourse further entrenches the myth-lie of science objectivity and neutrality thereby upholding the God-like status of Western science, which as Sylvia Wynter argues, reifies a biologically absolute notion of the human and keeps race as the primary immutable social "organizing principle" of our contemporary global order.
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Slattery-Quintanilla, Claire E., "Advancing Sylvia Wynter's Reimagination of the Human and Counter-Poetics: A Critique of Contemporary Western Science Discourse in Cosmos—a Spacetime Odyssey, with Host Neil deGrasse Tyson" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1253.
Received from ProQuest
Claire E. Slattery-Quintanilla
Black studies, American Studies, Philosophy of Science