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Derek Lee


Parascience And Revolution: The Paranormal Mind In Twentieth-Century Literature And Science

My dissertation explores the paranormal mind as a historical, phenomenological, and epistemological concept across twentieth-century literature and science. The belief that our minds possess suprahuman capabilities like telepathy or clairvoyance has fascinated scientists, philosophers, and writers alike ever since the rise of the psychological sciences at the end of the nineteenth century, but the dominant narrative is that increased scientific scrutiny has effectively marginalized such pseudoscientific theories. My project rejects this position. Drawing primarily from post-1945 literature (particularly speculative fiction, ethnic fiction, and the occult), philosophy of science, as well as biological and physical discourse, “Parascience and Revolution” deploys the paranormal mind as a heuristic to not only follow the permutations of twentieth-century literary phenomenology but also to theorize the epistemic forces actively producing heterodox thought-forms. In arguing for the unscientific outgrowths endemic to our scientific processes, this project elevates paranormal consciousness from an esoteric nexus of study to a vital site for understanding the flow and evolution of dissident information.