Author Archives: Matt Hale

Matt Hale is a dual PhD student at Indiana University, Bloomington within the Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Communication and Culture departments and an Associate Instructor in later department. He holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University. His research focuses on fandom and participatory cultures and popular media reception and response in general and, in particular, on the art and craft of cosplay.

Steampunk: Reimagining Trash and Technology

It begins with a question. What if? What if Napoleon had won the Battle of Waterloo, if the Hindenburg hadn’t crashed, or if Thomas Edison had never been born? What might the world be like if history had been different? Steampunk is an expressive genre that explores the possibilities of a past that never was, but might have been. Inspired by the steam-powered and mechanistic imagery of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells’ novels and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ethos of cyberpunk art and literature, steampunk combines the aesthetics and materials of the nineteenth century with the technological developments and sensibilities of the twenty-first. It is a style defined by anachronism and guided by an impulse to explore and interrogate the role of technology in everyday life. Although the genre began as a form of speculative literature in the 1980s and 1990s, it took on new life during the first decade of (more...)