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Excavating the FutureArchaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television$
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Shawn Malley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941190

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941190.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 03 June 2020

Stargate SG-1

Stargate SG-1

(p.44) Chapter 2 Stargate SG-1
Excavating the Future

Shawn Malley

Liverpool University Press

This chapter develops the central thesis of Chapter 1, namely that paramilitary archaeology is a means of invoking then containing dangerous pasts as an imaginative extension of U.S. foreign policy. Aired in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, Stargate (1994) translates the colonial milieu of 1930s Egyptology to the science fictional terrain of Abydos and the battle against Ra. But the shift to the small screen's televisual identity is symptomatic of the deepening complexities of representing geopolitical activity in the region. Just as archaeology passes from a source of wonder into a vehicle for military adventure, the show's ideological commitments to global (read intra-galactic) security become increasingly destabilized, particularly in the Mesopotamian-themed episodes aired after 9/11. The mercurial figure of Babylon offers a counterpoint to the film's overlay of archaeology and militarism, and indeed to the rhetoric of military stewardship at the heart of the "military-archaeology complex." The shifting representation of Mesopotamian antiquity in SG-1's ten-year run (1997-2007) offers powerful cultural criticism of the show's own premise.

Keywords:   science fiction film and television, archaeology, geopolitics, Stargate, Stargate SG-1, archaeology-military complex, Second Gulf War, First Gulf War, colonialism

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