The proposed panel, Rethinking Apollo: Technopolitics, Globality and the Space Age, takes the forthcoming anniversary as an impetus to reevaluate the six moon landings, undertaken between 1969 and 1972, from three complementary historiographical perspectives: legal, diplomatic and temporal. Stephen Buono examines how the 1967 Outer Space Treaty intersected with Cold War debates about post-colonialism, territory and US empire. Teasel Muir-Harmony demonstrates that US government officials employed Project Apollo to advance foreign relations in different national contexts. And Alexander Geppert probes the implications of the first moon walk as a transient moment of global synchronicity. Finally, Andrew Jenks, a historian of Russia, offers comments on the landing’s transnational dimensions, while Pedro Raposo, a historian of colonial science, engages in the post-presentation conversation about the relationship of technopolitics, global consciousness and sovereignty.
The panel uses the Apollo moment as a trigger to address larger issues in the history of space exploration, science and technology on the one hand, and 'general' twentieth-century historiography on the other. It contends that reassessing the moon landings as a key caesura which both ended the classical Space Age and heralded the ensuing Post-Apollo period has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the distinctive contradictions that characterized 1968 and the ‘long’ 1970s. Apollo showed how large-scale, national technological programs reshaped international power configurations. It played a decisive role in redrawing crucial boundaries – forging alliances across national borders, redefining concepts of territory, and enabling a sense of interconnection – that would frame expectations of the global order for decades to come. As such, putting a human on the moon was a singularly defining, if unrepeated moment in the making of our planetized present.