Visions of Invasion
Alien Affects, Cinema, and Citizenship in Settler Colonies
An exploration of the ways migrants are coded as alien in popular film and public discourse
Visions of Invasion: Alien Affects, Cinema, and Citizenship in Settler Colonies explores how the US government mobilizes media and surveillance technologies to operate a highly networked, multidimensional system for controlling migrants. Author Michael Lechuga focuses on three arenas where a citizenship control assemblage manufactures alienhood: Hollywood extraterrestrial invasion film, federal antimigration and border security legislation, and various immigration enforcement protocols implemented along the Mexico–United States border.
Building on rhetorical studies, settler colonial studies, and media studies, Visions of Invasion offers a glimpse at how the processes of alien-making contribute to an ongoing settler colonial project in the US. Lechuga demonstrates that popular films—The War of the Worlds, Predator, Men in Black, and more—participate in the production of migrants as subjective terrorists, felons, and other noncitizen personae vilified in public discourse.
Beyond just tracing how alien invasion narratives circulate in popular media, Lechuga describes how the logics motivating early US colonists materialize in both the US’s citizenship control policy and in some of the country’s most popular texts. Beneath each of the film franchises and antimigrant political expressions described in Visions of Invasion lies an anxious colonial logic in which the settler way of life is seemingly threated by false narratives of imminent invasion from abroad. The volume offers a deep dive into how the rhetorical figure of the alien has been manufactured as a political subjectivity, one that plays out the anxieties, guilts, and fears of colonialism in today’s science fiction landscape.
"Visions of Invasion is a necessary read for anyone interested in the intersections of immigration, borders, technology, and popular culture and film."- Sara McKinnon, author of Gendered Asylum: Race and Violence in US Law and Politics
"Well-written and clearly argued, Visions of Invasion will be of great use to scholars interested in expanding their understanding of the role of cinema beyond just the narrative to the way that technologies of the visual and their histories also shape the production of border policing and violence against BIPOC populations."- Caitlin Bruce, associate professor of communication at University of Pittsburgh