Invasion! Science Fiction of the 1950s


American science fiction films of the 1950s are less about science than they are about disaster. The techno-optimism of “look to the stars” is eclipsed by the paranoid imperative “watch the skies”!

Screening four classic earth-bound films alongside the spectacular Forbidden Planet, the course analyzes Cold War anxieties and the specter of The Bomb through—to name a few—the overreaching scientist, the pod person, and the calculating alien, as embodiments of shifting gender roles and demographics, lifeless automation, and the threat of annihilation. 

Class dates: five consecutive Tuesdays, from January 9–February 6

Time: 10:00am–1:00pm


Nathan Blake is a Teaching Professor for the Program in Media & Screen Studies at Northeastern University. Blake’s research addresses the intersections of image and information systems in medicine and warfare. His work explores the representations and discourses of masculinity, disability, and the technologically-altered body. He has written on boxing films; disabled veterans and athletic competition; the mechanical prostheses of French physiologist Jules Amar, as well as the motion studies of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth; the “aesthetics of dismemberment” in Dada and Surrealist montage; combat video games such as America’s Army, KumaWar, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2; and contemporary therapy systems for PTSD and amputee rehabilitation.