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Abominable knowledge : popular culture in the science of human origins

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Abominable knowledge : popular culture in the science of human origins

Uddin, Lisa (2002) Abominable knowledge : popular culture in the science of human origins. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis argues for the generative powers of popular culture and asks what they can bring to a critical understanding of modern science. Drawing on literature in science studies, cultural studies and feminist theory, the project considers in particular how sensational discourses--from monster culture to detective fiction to celebrity expose--are productive in human origins research, and what kinds of knowledge they produce. It begins by theorizing connections between the scientific and the sensational through a cultural history and theory of missing links. Following is a combined textual and discursive analysis of "Lucy", a partial skeleton whose discovery in the 1970's led to the naming of a new species of ancient hominid. Lucy's case is seen simultaneously as a credible science of human prehistory and an incredible discourse of Western modernity. Her investigation and publication constructed an ape-like specimen (and her scientists) into multiple modern-day subjects, revealing in the process some highly cultural conceptualizations of being biologically human. Moreover, the case demonstrates the intolerable horrors implicit in researching half-human creatures, and the ensuing sensational efforts to humanize our apish beginnings.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Uddin, Lisa
Pagination:vi, 122 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Nadeau, Chantal
ID Code:1672
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:21
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:22
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