Seeing the Future of Civilization in the Skies of Quarouble: UFO Encounters and the Problem of Empire in Postwar France
The year 1954 produced a wave of UFO sightings across the globe, with nearly 300 incidents reported in France alone. Focusing on the history of one highly publicized incident, this chapter explores the links between stories of alien visitations, colonization and the experiences of dislocation linked to postwar modernization in the French countryside. By placing Marius Dewilde’s accounts of two alien visitations between September and October 1954 in the context of state-directed transformation and the anxieties it produced, the chapter sheds light on the processes of alienation and transformation of a world in flux. At a moment when economic modernization, colonial instability and European integration contributed to dislocation and anxiety in France, attempts to grapple with the unfamiliar focused on apprehending otherworldly instruments of change.