Research Proposal

As a forewarning, I have seemed to take the approach of working backwards by identifying a topic I would like to write about and trying to find texts and sources to support that topic. At first I did not know where to start, but have since identified possible sources. Unfortunately, it seems that science fiction would play a big role in my topic and I do not have an extensive history as a science fiction fan. Therefore, if you have any suggestions concerning my sources I would be more than open to them. Additionally, the sources may appear to be all over the place, but I do have a train of thought for them. If there is confusion please do point out where things get lost as I think the issue with this thesis is making sure the argument follows a cohesive and coherent path.

There are quite a few primary texts involved and pieced together to develop the idea I’m trying to address. Arthur C Clarke The Songs of Distant Earth and his short story “Rescue Party” consist of humans as a species attempting to outlive the destruction of planet Earth. The novel involves a different planet where humans already exist and use methods of transporting the species to preserve it. “Rescue Party” follows aliens’ examination of Earth after humans had already abandoned it by way of a fleet of spaceships. Lord Byron’s poem “Darkness” and Frank Lillie Pollock’s short story “Finis” are two different instances of the Earth coming under apocalyptic end due to the sun either burning out as in “Darkness” or a star’s heat consuming Earth as in “Finis.” More modern examples of story telling with these similar ideas of destruction and preservation arise in sci-fi motion picture Interstellar and television series “Battlestar Galactica.” (These may not be used). Finally, Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant recently revealed how essential it would be to a strong point in my argument as it pertains to the purpose of the human identity.

Secondary sources is where I am severely lacking at the moment. So far historical context for Darkness would come into play and The Bible would be heavily related with the apocalyptic elements. Additionally, I may dare to engage Professor Tougaw’s work on memory and as it relates to The Buried Giant. After really examining this for my oral presentation it proved to be valuable for my thesis as well. Sources from Damasio will be examined as well as it pertains to the human identity.

The ideas I wish to address with his hodgepodge of texts is the question of whether these reveal the answers to the purpose of human identity/existence. Ishiguro will provide ideas on memory and how that relates to legacy. Byron and Pollock will provide the idea of apocalypse and the impending dangers to the human identity/existence and that legacy. Arthur C Clarke (possibly along with the film and show) will provide the solution thus stressing the importance of the ideas of science fiction and how they portray the most important aspect of human identity.


1 Comment

  1. zahava Said,

    December 1, 2016 @ 12:14 am

    Hey, James! I really enjoyed hearing about your proposal in class today. I think your topic deals a lot with memory and identity tied into one another and that might be an interesting segue from your scifi texts to The Buried Giant. I think it would be cool to analyze some of the horror behind apocalyptic worlds and the bible would definitely be a good source. If you choose to go down the path of human existence, I think you might consider looking into Existentialism- I think that might apply to your texts, and it’s a cool topic. Good luck with your research!

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