The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Amy Chambers

Research Associate in Science Communication & Screen Studies

Background

Research Interests: 

Gender representation in science-based media; women and minorities in STEM representation in science-based media; the intersection of science, religion, and entertainment media; visual culture of science fiction; Anglo-American science fiction cinema (1967-1977);  the domestication of horror; methods of visual storytelling; film theory and history; digital media and electronic literature.

Academic Blogging:

I contribute blog posts to the 'Science and Entertainment Laboratory' that tend to focus on science and superheroes/comic books, science fiction and real world science, and gender representation in science-based media. This is an off-shoot from my previous research project in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Manchester. 

I also write for the blog for my current project 'Unsettling Scientific Stories' writing about my experiences on the project and the ideas and questions generated by research on science futures and contemporary science-based fictions. 

Current Project:

'Unsettling Scientific Stories: Expertise, Narrative, and Future Histories' - an AHRC-funded inter-institutional project (York, Newcastle, Aberystwyth) investigating the history of the future during the long 20th Century. The specific Newcastle project 'Prospecting Futures' (PI: Dr Lisa Garforth) will survey contemporary efforts to map futures in science and SF narratives, and will explore the emergent futures generated in relation to new and emerging scientific fields.

Project website: unsettlingscientificstories.co.uk  Project Twitter: @UnsetSciStories

Previous Project: 

'The Playing God Project: Exploring the Interactions Among the Biosciences, Religion, and Entertainment Media' - a Wellcome Trust-funded project exploring the intersection of science. religion and entertainment media. Institutional affiliation: Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Manchester. Primary Investigator: Dr David A. Kirby

Previous Posts:

2013-2016 | Research associate in Science Communication Studies | Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Manchester.

2010-2013 | Lecturer in Film Studies and Visual Culture | School of Creative Studies and Media, Bangor University, Wales.   

Research

Research Statement:

I work in the fields of science communication and screen studies and I’m interested in the relationship between movies and the public understanding of science. I conduct research into science fiction movies made between 1967-1977 and their incorporation of real-world science and imagined future science. My work also analyses how major scientific concepts and advancements have influenced onscreen representations of science. As part of my current book-in-progress I am looking more specifically at how leaders and members of religious institutions have interpreted and understood science in movies. I also work on the representation of women and minorites in STEM and the inclusion of a diverse scientists in the processes of entertainment media production.

Planned future research as part of my current project will explore the representation and projected futures of women and minority groups within scientific cultures and imagined futures in Anglo-American entertainment media.

Book Manuscripts in progress:

From Star Child To Star Wars: American Science (Fiction), Film, and Religion 1967-1977

Aping the Counterculture: PlNETAping the Counterculture: Planet of the Apes, Film and History  

Manuscripts in Preparation:

‘From Sacred To Scientific: Epic Religion, Spectacular Science, and Charlton Heston’s 1970s Sci-Fi’. In submission with Science Fiction Film & Television.

''Somewhere between science and superstition': Religious Outrage, Horrific Science and The Exorcist' For submission to the Journal of Religion and Film

‘If She Can See It, She Can Be It: Biomedical Science and Women on Screen’. For submission to Public Understanding of Science.

‘Recreating the World: Transmedia Terra-forming and Virtual World Building in Defiance’. For submission to Paradoxa [special edition: ‘Small Screen Fictions’] – a collaboration with Dr R. Lyle Skains.

Invited Lectures:

May 2017 | 'Talking Apes, Talking Science: Science, Fiction, and the Movies', Pint of Science Festival 2017 (Edinburgh)

March 2017 | 'The Science and Documentary Filmmaking Toolkit' [plenary lecture], CPH:DOX* (Copenhagen Documentary Festival 2017, Denmark)

February 2017 | ''Somewhere between science and superstition': Religious Outrage, Horrific Science, and The Exorcist', Department of Theatre, Film, and TV Research Seminar (University of York)

September 2016 | ‘From Star Child To Star Wars: American Science (Fiction), Film, and Religion’, CHSTM Research Seminar (University of Manchester)


October 2015 | ‘Playing God: Science, Religion, and Post-classical Hollywood’, Film, Television, and Media Research Seminar (University of East Anglia) 

March 2015 | ‘From Star Child To Star Wars: American Science (Fiction), Film, and Religion’, Public Understanding of Science Lecture (London School of Economics)

February 2015 | ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes, and Reproductive Rights’, Reproductive Dystopias (University of Cambridge)

November 2014 | ‘The Americanization of La Planete des SingesPlanet of the Apes, Science, and Religion’, Fiction Meets Science (Universitat Bremen, Germany) 

June 2014 | ‘The Evolution of Planet of the Apes: Science, Religion, and Society’, Playing God: Science, Religion, and Media (Cornerhouse, Manchester)

Conference Papers:

November 2017 | 'Nature Strikes Back!: Popular Science, Environmental Science/fictions, and Eco-Activism', The 2nd International Conference on Anticipation (Senate House, London)    

October 2017 | ''You're not a carer, you're a jailer': Inhuman Caregiving, Emotional Labour, and the Dehumanised Public Health Service in Humans', Care + Machines (Lincoln Institute, University of Manchester)     

July 2017 | ''Somewhere between science and superstition': Religious Outrage, Horrific Science, and The Exorcist', International Congress for the History of Science and Technology - iCHST (University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

July 2017 | 'Unsettling Scientific Stories: Fictional Futures and Sociological Speculation', British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference (University of York)

May 2017 | 'Unsettling Scientific Stories: Fictional Futures and Sociological Speculation', Narrating Science: The Power of Stories in the 21st Century (Toronto, Canada) 

October 2016 | ''Somewhere between science and superstition': Religious Outrage, Horrific Science and The Exorcist', Gods and Heretics: The 2016 Film & History Conference (Milwaukee, WI, USA)

October 2016 | ‘It’s Grimm up North: Domestic Obscenity and Medical Salvation in In the Flesh, Gothic North (Manchester Metropolitan University)

July 2016 | 'Moving Image Media, Science Fiction, and the Public Understanding of Science' [roundtable discussion], Science In Public 2016 (University of Kent).  

June 2016 | 'Nature Strikes Back!: Cycles of Environmentally Conscious Science Fiction', The Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) Conference 2016 (University of Liverpool)

June 2016 | 'If they can see it, they can be it: Science and Women on Screen Since 2000' [roundtable discussion], The Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) Conference 2016 (University of Liverpool)

April 2015 | ‘It’s Grimm up North: Domestic Obscenity and Assimilation Anxieties in In the Flesh’, Mediating the North (University of Central Lancashire)

October 2014 | ‘From Sacred to Scientific: Charlton Heston’s Second Golden Age’, Golden Ages: The 2014 Film & History Conference (Madison, WI, USA)

November 2013 | ‘Destroying Landmarks/Destroying History: Historical Spaces in U.S. Science Fiction’, Making Movie$, The 2013 Film & History Conference (Madison, WI)  

May 2012 | ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the Multimodal Mash-up: Film as Participatory Narrative’ (co-authored with Dr R. Lyle Skains), Contemporary Screen Narratives (University of Nottingham)

Publications