December 2020 Staff Picks: Education and the Martian Frontier

From the summer of 2017 to spring, 2018, the Gottesman Libraries Education Program staged Mars Mission , “an out-of-this-world immersive experience” in the Smith Learning Theater. The 70 minute production simulated a mission to the Red Planet during which participants, divided into teams, worked together to solve problems of human settlement on Mars, from the scientific to the technical. While the idea of travel to (and visits from) Mars has long been a staple of fantasy and science fiction, recent developments have brought that prospect closer to reality. Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit, made international news in 2013 when over 200,000 people submitted applications for 100 places on a one-way trip to the planet. NASA’s “Moon to Mars” initiative aims to send at least one man and one woman to the Moon by 2024 in order to “[establish] sustainable exploration” for settlement on Mars. Among the private enterprises collaborating with NASA on that initiative is SpaceX , the company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk with the mission of enabling the colonization of Mars.

Like Gottesman Libraries’ Mars Mission, media coverage of the prospective colonization of Mars has considered the issue as largely a set of scientific, technological, and funding problems. But histories of colonization on our home planet point to deeper questions about the philosophy and moral implications of colonization itself. This collection looks at literature about Mars alongside literature about colonial education to more fully consider the possibilities of human settlement on Mars.

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Stolen life

by Fred Moten


A Blackboard Round My Neck

by F. C. Metrowich


Colonizer and The Colonized

Albert Memmi


A Frenchwoman's Imperial Story:

Madame Luce in Nineteenth-Century Algieria

by Rebecca Rogers


Earth and Mars:

A Reflection

by Stephen E. Strom and Bradford A. Smith


The Surface of Mars

by Michael H. Carr


Disciplining the Savages: Savaging the Disciplines

by Martin Nakata


Education As Politics :

Colonial Schooling and Political Debate in Senegal, 1850s-1914

by Kelly Duke Bryant


Decolonization in Universities:

The Politics of Knowledge

by Jonathan Jansen, Ed.


Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars

by National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Space Studies Board, Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars, and National Academy of Sciences


Negotiating Empire : The Cultural Politics of Schools in Puerto Rico, 1898-1952

by Solsiree del Moral


Decolonization and the Decolonized

by Albert Memmi


Mars :

Mars, the Prospective Colony

by E. B. Pritchard