Title page for ETD etd-0130103-102538

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Noonan, Bonnie
Author's Email Address bnoonan@lsu.edu
URN etd-0130103-102538
Title "Science in Skirts": Representations of Women in Science in the "B" Science Fiction Films of the 1950s
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Elsie B. Michie Committee Chair
Carl Freedman Committee Member
John May Committee Member
Sharon Weltman Committee Member
Gerilyn Tandberg Dean's Representative
  • films of the 1950s
  • women in science
  • science fiction film
  • women in film
Date of Defense 2002-12-20
Availability unrestricted
This project shows how central representations of women in science were to the B science fiction films of the 1950s and uses these films as valuable indicators for cultural analysis. I argue that the emergence of the modern American science fiction film in 1950 combined with the situation of post-W.W.II women in science to create a genre explicitly amenable to exploring the tension between a womans place in the home and her place in the work force, particularly in the fields of science.

Out of a context of 114 B science fiction films produced between 1950 and 1966, I offer substantial readings of seven films that feature women in science. Using changing gender roles after W.W.II as an analytical focus, each chapter explores relationality within films, among films, and between films and the culture in which they were produced, distributed, and consumed in order to make visible overall gender patterns, kinship systems, and possibilities for imagining change. The conclusion to the project uses the conceptual framework that has been established to suggest possibilities for a more thorough analysis of the American science fiction film genre, in particular as that genre resonates with concerns relevant to feminist theory.

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