This book provides the first detailed and comprehensive examination of all the materials making up the Star Wars franchise relating to the portrayal and representation of real-world history and politics.
Drawing on a variety of sources, including films, published interviews with directors and actors, novels, comics, and computer games, this volume explores the ways in which historical and contemporary events have been repurposed within Star Wars. It focuses on key themes such as fascism and the Galactic Empire, the failures of democracy, the portrayal of warfare, the morality of the Jedi, and the representations of sex, gender, and race. Through these themes, this study highlights the impacts of the fall of the Soviet Union, the War on Terror, and the failures of the United Nations upon the ‘galaxy far, far away’. By analysing and understanding these events and their portrayal within Star Wars, it shows how the most popular media franchise in existence aims to speak about wider contemporary events and issues.
The History and Politics of Star Wars is useful for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars of a variety of disciplines such as transmedia studies, science fiction, cultural studies, and world history and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A long time ago…?, 1. ‘For a safe and secure society’: Totalitarianism, imperialism, and the Emperor, 2. ‘How liberty dies’: Republics, democracy, and the fall of civilisation, 3. ‘Built on hope…’: Rebellion, resistance, and the depiction of warfare, 4. ‘Keepers of the peace, not soldiers’: Jedi, the Force, and the complicated morality of intra-state operatives, 5. ‘We don’t want them here’: Aliens, androids, and far outsiders, Conclusion: Always in motion the future is…
Chris Kempshall is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Army Leadership, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is a historian of the First World War as well as popular representations of history in modern media. He has authored numerous academic works, including The First World War in Computer Games (2015) and British, French and American Relations on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (2018).
"Kempshall’s book is... possibly the most comprehensive account of the specific connections between fact and fiction when it comes to Star Wars, and belongs on every bookshelf." - Dork Side of the Force
""The History and Politics of Star Wars" is an utterly comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable work of scholarship, accessible to any Star Wars fan with even a passing interest in the franchise's social, cultural, and moral underpinnings." - Star Wars 7x7