Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Armond R. Towns, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tayana Hardin

Third Advisor

Santhosh Chandrashekar


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.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Claire E. Slattery-Quintanilla


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

95 p.


Black studies, American Studies, Philosophy of Science