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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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(p.167) Chapter 8 Prometheus
Excavating the Future

Shawn Malley

Liverpool University Press

Prometheus (2012) provides ample material for cyborg criticism in the figure of its android protagonist, David. Modelling himself after the archaeologist, promoter of Arab nationalism and British spy T.E. Lawrence, David functions as both a cultural artefact in, and an agent of, Prometheus's expedition to the origins of human life, an enterprise that, like Lawrence’s, is an anthropological recovery of an early phase of civilization that promotes the interests of the industrial-military complex that David serves (in Lawrence's case, Britain's Foreign and Colonial Office). David is the pivot upon which the film's historical fabula turns, is the "cyborg site" from which the diegetic environment of material science flows: as a non-human marginalized figure, the cyborg David simultaneously embodies and resists the originary trajectory and the racist/speciesist discourse that lay at the heart of early archaeological thinking. Ultimately, theories of common origins that infuse Scott's film are dismantled along with the conservative political agendas such myths serve. As a signifier of the archaeological business of gathering artefacts into partial typologies of origins and progress, the cyborg archaeologist is a fitting coda to my investigation of the uneasy and ongoing alliance between archaeology and global politics circulating in the popular imaginary of SF.

Keywords:   science fiction film and television, archaeology, geopolitics, cyborgs, T.E. Lawrence, colonialism, Middle East

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