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Harriette Kevill-Davies

Harriette Kevill-Davies is a PhD candidate. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Politics, Philosophy and History; and Linguistics and French, from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a masters in social sciences from The University of Chicago. Her research focuses on collectible trading cards that were sold to children during the early Cold War, with rhetorical readings of the cards’ content, the themes that they address, the tropes and imagery they employ, and the kinds of narratives they propose about the world and their imagined audience’s place within it. Further, she examines the contradictions between the ostensibly exciting content of the cards: aliens, space travel, war, and so on, and the latent messages they contain, relating to technical operation within a system of information management. She argues that such cards promoted messages about technical competence in service to national security goals, and the disciplinary ordering of the world, its peoples, and their ideas, thus priming children to take their place among the ranks of middle-class technical operators who could serve national goals as part of a wider military-scientific complex. In addition, she explores the social practices associated with these cards, those of trading, (ac)counting, selling, and buying, suggesting that these practices supported the ideas latent in the cards about how individuals ought to operate as parts of a system in which each person operated in the service of a larger whole.