chapter  12
23 Pages

The Postcolonial Geek and Popular Culture in a Global Era

WithWendy Knepper

Contemporary popular culture is consumed by stories about the perils and possibilities of technology. The Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, the high-tech thrillers of James Bond and Jason Bourne, the superheroes of DC and Marvel comics, and the perilous gaming experiences of Halo and Assassin’s Creed number among the popular bestsellers of the global cultural marketplace. Such works are also deeply implicated in the sort of popular culture that Stuart Hall describes as a political ‘struggle for and against the powerful.’ 1 They investigate imperial technologies, speculate on the implications of scientific discovery and explore the consequences of technocapitalism (efforts to extract profit from technology’s applications, tools and intangibles, such as creativity and knowledge). 2 Bringing a postcolonial critique of technoscience to bear on such works yields fresh insights into ‘the turbulence and uncertainty of contemporary global flows of knowledge and practice,’ as Warwick Anderson expresses it, but I am most interested in a popular postcolonial culture that seeks to enact global cognitive justice and represent technology’s history from below, especially by staking claims on behalf of technology’s peripheral innovators, labourers and users. 3