American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations

Space Oddities for the Age of Space Tourism

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Culture Studies/Communication

First Advisor

Donald McQuarie (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Ellen Berry (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Jeremy Wallach (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Lynn Pearson


This research focuses on musical representations of space in the context of the nascent space tourism industry. The argument contextualizes music as a political practice, one that conceptually constructs spaces and thus could intervene in the colonization of space as produced, largely discursively so far, by transnational entertainment corporations. I specifically focus on the musical texts "Space Oddity" by David Bowie, "Rocketman" by Elton John, and "Space is the Place" by Sun Ra as examples of interventions and revisions of dominant space discourse. Methodologically, the production and reception processes of popular music are used as a template for generating analyses of how particular musical texts might intersect with other culture industry productions such as space tourism. The research concludes that popular music has the capacity to help keep space open for multiplicity, diversity, equity, and, if need be, resistance.