Why must Luke Skywalker turn off his targeting computer at the climactic moment of George Lucas’s iconic film Star Wars (1977)? Star Wars is celebrated in part because it started a revolution in cinematic special-effects, but underlying the film’s narrative logic is a deeply rooted anxiety about the right uses of technology. Using the relationship between Star Wars and the Luddism as a case study, this talk will investigate the idea that the saga, which has now become a transmedia phenomenon, provides a platform for public philosophy and critical thinking through its establishment of a cosmopolitan conceptual framework.
Cyrus R. K. Patell is Professor of English at NYU and currently Global Network Professor of Literature at NYUAD, where he teaches courses on world literature, cosmopolitanism, Global Shakespeare, and literary theory. His book Lucasfilm: Filmmaker and Philosopher was published by Bloomsbury last August. Together with Deborah Lindsay Williams, he is co-editing volume eight of the twelve-volume Oxford History of the Novel in English on the US novel since 1940, which is currently in production.