Wednesday, April 14, 2010

School is cool.

So, after complaining yesterday about the sheer amount of schoolwork that is piling up in my household, I do want to say I am lucky to be studying things I like.  That's the nice thing about grad school -- no general education courses.  Every class I take, I take because I'm interested in it, and I pretty much never have tests and usually just have to write a research paper for each class for the end of the term. It's pretty sweet.

Right now, I'm taking a class in the architecture department on space and the politics of memory, which basically focuses on the ways in which we as humans create meaningful space, and the ways that created space impacts our collective and individual memories.  For my final paper in that class, I get to combine 2 of my favorite things: Disney theme parks and Cold War era thought and perception! Huzzah!

These are all of the Disney books I have out of the library right now.  For anyone who's ever said there's no reason to take an academic interest in Disney, HA! Look at all this material! And I've requested a few more books from partner libraries to continue the Disney-book apartment takeover in progress.  Okay, so the bottom book is actually basically just a picture book about the design process for the Disney "mountains" (Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, Everest, and Space Mountain, which is the one that's actually relevant to my work), and I actually own that one, but whatever.

Anyway, I won't say too much in case I ever decide to write a book on this or something equally awesome, but I'm writing about Disney's portrayal of the future in Tomorrowland, one of the themed "lands" of the Magic Kingdom. I'm interested in the ways in which the construction of the future in the parks changed from the 1960s (when there was an earnest effort to immerse guests in a utopian imagined future) to the 1990s (when Tomorrowland was completely remodeled to instead portray a "future that never was," ie a retro, stylized, 1950s-esque "future") and how thus giving up on imagining the future and focusing instead on the past relates to the conception of history and of the future in the collective public imagination.


Now if only I could somehow work in a research trip and get the school to pay for it... 

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