Dome Thinking: Reflections on what it means to live Under the Dome

Last Friday at Warwick’s APT Symposium 2015, I presented my ongoing work on domes. The title of the paper I presented has the tentative title “Dome Thinking: Reflections on what it means to live Under the Dome”. The paper looks at two case studies in an effort to account for the emergence of domes in popular culture: the CBS adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome and Chai Jing’s documentary with the same title. The abstract is below:

Many myths of creation share a common fascination for the construct and concept of a vaulting or spherical dome that separates life on earth, and indeed the earth itself, from a wider celestial universe. The idea of a dome seems to give form and meaning to being in a place within a bigger metaphysical and cosmological construct. It is as if the embracing dome protects, orchestrates and nurtures life as much as a roof of a house accommodates its inhabitants against the inhospitable environmental and uncertain metaphysical conditions that reign outside of it. This paper looks at the popular re-emergence of the dome in a supposedly secular modern world. The paper draws inspiration from a popular Chinese documentary, entitled ‘under the dome’, and the CNS adaptation of a Stephen King novel with the same title. I argue that these different, and contrasting, cultural expressions seem to be representative of a resurgence of what I describe as ‘dome-thinking’. They show why we the old idea of a metaphysical dome continues to hold relevance (even) in the Anthropocene, and raise the challenging question of what it means to live under it.

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