This essay examines the militarization of extraterrestrial and extraterritorial spaces such as the high seas, outer space, and Antarctica since the onset of the Cold War. While environmental studies has generally focused on national topographies, this essay instead imagines the earth through visual tropes of the extraterrestrial. Mapping these “outer spaces”—terrae incognitae—within and outside the earth has been key to our modern understanding of the planet and to visualizing the global environment, including climate change. Turning to the militarization of outer space and Antarctica, the essay examines satellite vision produced by the Cold War systems of surveillance, particularly as inscribed by New Zealand author James George. The conclusion of the essay turns to ways these technologies are constitutive of visions of the global in the Anthropocene.
Satellite Planetarity and the Ends of the Earth
Elizabeth DeLoughrey is an associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures (2007). She is also coeditor of Caribbean Literature and the Environment (2005) and Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment (2011). She is currently completing a book about the literature of climate change and empire.