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Critical Outer Space - Public Lecture Series

We invite you to join the crew!

Please find up to date information on the lecture series, such as topics and registration, here:





Oct 11th

Dr. Alice Gorman

"The Archeology of an inhabited Solar System”

Please register for the online lecture here

Oct 24th

Prof. Dr. Lisa Messeri 

“Lunar Passages: Anthropological, Artistic, and Literary Reflections of Earth-Moon Relations”

Please register for the online lecture here

Nov 14th Prof. Dr. James Schwartz “Expanding Access to Space: Ethics of Space Exploration and Philosophy of Disability”

Please register for the online lecture here

Nov 21st Dr. Eleonor Armstrong "What Can Feminism Do for Outer Space Studies?" Please register for the online lecture here

Dec 5th

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Alexandra Ganser

"Territorializing Outer Space in US-American Film: Feminist Perspectives" Please register for the online lecture here

Dec 12th

Frédéric Boone

„Cosmology and Space Conquest”

Please register for the online lecture here

* More information included in the poster below (incl. QR-Codes). 

Dive into our lectures series:

 by Dr. Alice Gorman

Humans have lived on Earth for approximately three million years, but it’s only in the last 60 that they have ventured beyond the terrapause into interplanetary space. As a result, the planets, moons and asteroids are now littered with broken probes and dead robots. From the perspective of a space archaeologist, these artefacts are not merely junk. They form an archaeological record which maps human beliefs about their place in the cosmos. What fears and desires are represented by these discarded technologies ?

by Prof. Dr. Lisa Messeri

How do objects in the universe come to have human meaning? This talk takes as a case study the Earth’s Moon and considers depictions of the satellite – by scientists, visual artists, and writers – over time. As representations of the Moon change, new facets of the Earth-Moon relationship are exposed. Studying the Moon sharpens our understanding of what it means to think of Earth as a planet – one of an  infinitude of others. It also forges imaginative links by which these others, like our own Earth, become legible as worlds.

by Prof. Dr. James Schwartz

An important lesson from disability studies and philosophy of disability is that our understanding of disability exists in a contingent environmental, social, and cultural context.  Proposals to create new human societies on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere, are in effect proposals to experiment with living under radically novel environmental, social, and cultural contexts.  Because space expansion, by its nature, can only be a deliberate, planned act, this means that it also provides an opportunity to adjust, modify, or control what, in terrestrial contexts, would ordinarily be assumed as incorrigible background assumptions.  The concept of ‘disability’ is ripe for reassessment when entertaining the possibility of humans living under different or variable gravitational forces, under different or variable diurnal cycles, under extremely hazardous radiation environments, or when consider plans for living entirely dependent on sophisticated technological systems (not just for emergency care but for basic life support), and in radically novel social and environmental contexts.  I will suggest that human space expansion will be more likely to succeed over the long term if the accessibility of space missions is prioritized sooner.

by Dr. Eleonor Armstrong

Nothing would happen in "outer space" without the labor that gets the work done. In this talk I trace how feminist approaches can develop critical insights into the labor required for outer space (and outer space studies), highlighting how this can develop our theorising, research agendas, and approaches to scholarship.

Dr Eleanor S Armstrong (she/her) is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm University (Sweden), taking a critically queer feminist approaches to informal science education and cultural geographies of space science. She held a Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Delaware (USA), and visiting scholar positions at the University of Cambridge (UK), the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum (Canada) and wrote her doctorate at University College London, completed in 2020.

by Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Alexandra Ganser


by Frédéric Boone

Any culture is built and organized around a representation of the world, its history and the place that human beings hold in it, what is called a cosmology. It is a response to the first questions raised by consciousness: where are we and what are we doing here?

In our Western culture, which has now spread over the whole world, "Science" is in charge of producing the Great Narrative of the Universe.

Thus, cosmology is the name of a scientific discipline which is a specialization of physics.

In this conference I will remind some observations and the story of the Universe proposed by modern physics, then I will point out its limits and show how it is not really a cosmology. This discrepancy between our scientistic cultural heritage and the reality of what physical science is induces a confusion sometimes consciously maintained by the scientists themselves. The main idea of this conference is that there is a link between this belief in the possibility of a physical cosmology and our relationship to our planet.

The supposed epistemic Universalism of what is wrongly called cosmology implies a point of view from nowhere mainly inherited from the Galilean revolution, a "cosmic exile", which naturally leads to the planetary exile promised by the space conquest. 

Thus, becoming aware of the confusion between physics and meta-physics (and of the pivotal role played by the cosmological principle in this confusion) could once again liberate imaginations and allow Western humans to create cosmologies more anchored in the terrestrial reality. In doing so, it could be that the Promethean dreams of geo-engineering and space conquest (which are particularities of our culture) will fade away and that we will apply ourselves to return to ways of life more in tune with our earthly condition.

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