Title

'Megacities' and 'Burbclaves': Understanding Borders and Border-cruxes in Cyberpunk and Post-Modern Science Fiction

Submitter and Co-author information

Logan McQueen, University of WindsorFollow

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Understanding and Optimizing Borders

Your Location

Windsor, ON

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

N/A

Abstract/Description of Original Work

From its inception in the 1980's, Cyberpunk has been analyzed and criticized for its speculative and satirical depictions of urban life in the future. Since it is by no means new - though it remains hugely influential both popularly and academically - scholars have done much to explore the urban make-up depicted in Cyberpunk media, viewing it through critical theories like geographical imagination. I narrow my research to explore how borders and border-cruxes are depicted, using pre-existing research that posits geographical imagination to both frame my argument and outline gaps in critical analysis thus far. I also use a multi-media content analysis approach that considers primary depictions in literature, films, television, comics, and video games ranging from proto-Cyberpunk in the 1960's to films of the last decade. My argument is that Cyberpunk seeks to classify and (over)-label territory while simultaneously blurring borders. Such examples lie in the “Districts” set out by Ghost in the Shell, the “Megacities” in Judge Dredd comics, “Burbclaves” or “Phyles” in Neil Stephenson’s works, or “The Sprawl” in William Gibson’s trilogy of the same name. I conclude that there is a contradiction between the way we classify or understand borders and our imagination of them that is reconciled by Cyberpunks’s both increased and decreased emphasis on borders. Cyberpunk illuminates the paradoxes between classifying and imagining borders that very much exists between those who control them and those who exist between or within them. My research relates to the Grand Challenge of "Understanding and Optimizing Borders" in that it seeks to explore how Cyberpunk makes sense of real-world borders and border-cruxes (Windsor itself being a border-crux) through the contradictions of classification and imagination.

Special Considerations

Thanks for considering! Very excited for the prospect of presenting.

Share

COinS
 

'Megacities' and 'Burbclaves': Understanding Borders and Border-cruxes in Cyberpunk and Post-Modern Science Fiction

From its inception in the 1980's, Cyberpunk has been analyzed and criticized for its speculative and satirical depictions of urban life in the future. Since it is by no means new - though it remains hugely influential both popularly and academically - scholars have done much to explore the urban make-up depicted in Cyberpunk media, viewing it through critical theories like geographical imagination. I narrow my research to explore how borders and border-cruxes are depicted, using pre-existing research that posits geographical imagination to both frame my argument and outline gaps in critical analysis thus far. I also use a multi-media content analysis approach that considers primary depictions in literature, films, television, comics, and video games ranging from proto-Cyberpunk in the 1960's to films of the last decade. My argument is that Cyberpunk seeks to classify and (over)-label territory while simultaneously blurring borders. Such examples lie in the “Districts” set out by Ghost in the Shell, the “Megacities” in Judge Dredd comics, “Burbclaves” or “Phyles” in Neil Stephenson’s works, or “The Sprawl” in William Gibson’s trilogy of the same name. I conclude that there is a contradiction between the way we classify or understand borders and our imagination of them that is reconciled by Cyberpunks’s both increased and decreased emphasis on borders. Cyberpunk illuminates the paradoxes between classifying and imagining borders that very much exists between those who control them and those who exist between or within them. My research relates to the Grand Challenge of "Understanding and Optimizing Borders" in that it seeks to explore how Cyberpunk makes sense of real-world borders and border-cruxes (Windsor itself being a border-crux) through the contradictions of classification and imagination.