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University of Washington

1. Francisco, Megan Hollis. "The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica.

Degree: PhD, 2021, University of Washington

This dissertation project pioneers a new approach to the analysis of science fiction television music through analysis of the music of the 2004-2009 series Battlestar Galactica. Most originally, the dissertation applies Gloria Anzaldúa’s theory of la mestiza from feminist, race, and posthuman studies to the social world constructed by the series’ soundtrack. As I argue, Battlestar Galactica transformed the fundamental rules of engagement between music and narrative. This dissertation will build on prior work in science fiction film and television studies as I analyze the role of music in all four seasons. In particular, this dissertation focuses on the critical role music plays in the construction of race, gender, and religion on the series. Chapter One analyzes how the series follows the conventions of the so-called “space opera” subgenre of science fiction but complicates it by introducing the post-9/11 issues of terrorism and waterboarding. Furthermore, this chapter engages in genre theory, noting how the creator’s resistance to traditional space operas paradoxically resulted in a show deeply indebted to traditional operatic tropes. Chapter Two follows the lead of scholars who have applied post-colonial theories to science fiction, delving into the ways in which music is used to “Other” the mechanical Cylons. Chapter Three brings new insights to the much-discussed issues of diegetic music, emphasizing the impact that music and spirituality have on Battlestar Galactica’s narrative. Finally, Chapter Four pulls from gender scholarship—specifically, feminist research on cyborgs by Anzaldúa and Donna Haraway— to trace how music functions to evoke a utopian future. This dissertation grounds these theories in the examination of primary source materials (the episodes, commentaries, podcasts by the series’ writers, and writings by the composer, Bear McCreary) as well as musical and semiotic analysis of the score. Although this dissertation will incorporate theories from other disciplines, I will always return to one primary question: how does the music of Battlestar Galactica function both inside and outside of the narrative? This crucial question explores the groundbreaking ways in which the music of BSG operated and explores how the series ultimately advanced science fiction television. This dissertation ultimately argues that BSG transformed the fundamental rules of engagement between music and narrative. In doing so, my research ultimately pushes music scholarship into new avenues of exploration and to contribute to the expanding canon of science fiction television scholarship. Advisors/Committee Members: Rumph, Stephen (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Gender; Postcolonialism; Religion; Television; Music history; Cinematography; Gender studies; Music

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Francisco, M. H. (2021). "The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Washington. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1773/46858

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Francisco, Megan Hollis. “"The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica.” 2021. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Washington. Accessed April 22, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/1773/46858.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Francisco, Megan Hollis. “"The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica.” 2021. Web. 22 Apr 2021.

Vancouver:

Francisco MH. "The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Washington; 2021. [cited 2021 Apr 22]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/46858.

Council of Science Editors:

Francisco MH. "The Shape of Things to Come": Identity and Destiny in the Music of Battlestar Galactica. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Washington; 2021. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/46858

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