Dissertation Title:

The Colonization of Mars: An Archetypal Inquiry of a Contemporary Frontier Narrative


Eric Hanley

Date, Time & Place:

March 10, 2021 at 9:00 am


This archetypal inquiry examines the cultural phenomenon of Mars colonization as it appears in popular culture as a frontier fantasy. To ascertain the common frontier narrative, multivalent bases of Mars colonization are explored and interpreted following hermeneutic philosophy. Once the common Mars frontier narrative was determined, the research moved to contain and describe the mind that colonizes. The “modern world view” is a portrait of collective consciousness that takes root in particular moments in modern history that contributed to our common perspective. The stories we tell of Mars and outer space reflect our modern world view, exemplified by cultural artifacts—social phenomena that reflect, reproduce, and reinforce our cultural matrices. Following James Hillman’s (1975) concept of psychologizing, or seeing through, popular culture narratives, or cultural artifacts, were analyzed and interpreted as frontier fantasies that reflect, reinforce, and reproduce Western civilization’s inherent values, desires, and dreams to expand beyond Earth and into the universe. Themes that began to emerge in analyses of cultural artifacts included: A quest for immortality, deification of science and reason, reinforcement of the Protestant work ethic and moral virtue, the “monsters” of technology, and the need for a new epistemology. This research proposed and implemented a new form of interpreting social phenomena, one which is inclusive of the shadow side of reality while honoring popular images of the frontier and celebrating our capacity to imagine mythopoetically.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, A, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Michael Sipiora
  • Reader: Dr. Robert Romanyshyn
  • External Reader: Dr. Ronald Schenk
  • Keywords: Archetypal, Cosmos, Dream, Frontier