Lauren Clausing, “The History of Star Wars Fans and Racial Perceptions”
Mentor: Gregory Carter, History
Dr. Greg Carter’s next book brings together two phenomena prominent in the past four decades: the science fiction movie franchise, Star Wars, and the increased acceptance of interracial intimacy. Unlike most writing on the galaxy far, far away, which focuses on narratives, this project prioritizes the historical contexts of the films, which put in relief overlooked themes like interracial intimacy, whether explicit or implicit. Our objective is to uncover the link between George Lucas’s creation and our real world. Just as many assume the movies lack racial issues, some have claimed that the United States has reached a “postracial” state where racial difference is irrelevant. But these conclusions come from a colorblind naivete. We plan to show how, in both realms, prohibiting interracial (or inter-species) intimacy has maintained the differences between racial groups. Because of the centrality of the perceptions, attitudes, and activities of Star Wars fans, Lauren Clausing and Dr. Carter use methodologies drawing mostly from History—collecting and evaluating primary sources, applying critical theory, and discerning continuities and disruptions—to examine them. We pursue three inquiries: First, in what ways have minorities participated since 1977? Second, how have mainstream (white) fans engaged with issues like diversity? Third, how have various fans reacted to interracial relationships between the characters in the sequel trilogy movies (2015-2019)?