TARDIS Eruditorum

Aka "A Psychochronography in Blue."

TARDIS Eruditorum, currently the main feature on this site, is an ongoing critical history of Doctor Who. Posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are, unless something unusual is going on, TARDIS Eruditorum posts, and the project is expected to run roughly into the summer of 2014.

The subtitle of "A Psychochronography in Blue" refers to the idea of psychochronography, an offshoot of the artistic concept of psychogeography. Psychogeography is a practice originally developed by the Situationist International as part of their efforts to forcibly dismantle the established social order. Psychogeography is the study of how physical spaces impact social, cultural, and personal lives. Its central technique is what is called the derivé, or drift, in which one wanders through an urban area according to some idiosyncratic logic that causes one to cut against the usual lines and paths traced.

Psychochronography applies this notion to our internal landscape. Taking seriously Alan Moore's notion of ideaspace, psychochronography suggests that we can wander through history and ideas just as easily as we can physical spaces, and that by observing the course of such a meander we can discover new things about our world.

TARDIS Eruditorum meanders through British history starting with what might be called the post-postwar period. The course of its walk is the television series Doctor Who, which has been in continual production (though not always as a television series) for the past half-century. Its structure mirrors that of an episode guide, though this is not to say it is one. Essays on every televised Doctor Who story are presented sequentially, interleaved with various other essays. These include Pop Between Realities essays, which look at things that are not Doctor Who, Time Can Be Rewritten essays, which look at Doctor Who stories set in a different time period from when they were written, and both Outside the Government and You Were Expecting Someone Else essays, which look at things that aren't quite Doctor Who.

Its goal is to tell the story of Doctor Who as a cultural phenomenon. It is written for an intended audience of people who are familiar with the broad strokes of Doctor Who, but who have not necessarily seen every episode, or indeed any of the classic series. It does not contain episode summaries, and readers interested in given stories are encouraged to go seek them out, but it is no more obtuse to a reader who has not seen a given episode than an average movie review is to someone who hasn't seen the film. It is not primarily a blog about how good a given episode is or isn't, although such opinions may creep through. Its primary goal, however, is to tell one particular history of a half-century of British culture through the idiosyncratic but terribly useful lens of an at times ropy but always clever sci-fi program.

TARDIS Eruditorum is periodically edited and collected as books. These can be found here. If you enjoy the series, please consider buying them, as they are a major source of household income.

Some often used terms and concepts are originated in earlier posts. "The Problem of Susan" is explained in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, alchemy is discussed in Evil of the Daleks and The Brain of Morbius, emboitment is defined in Logopolis, Blake in The Three Doctors, and qlippothic in The Tenth Planet. EastPowellStreet is discussed primarily in Rose and The Aliens of London. If you have any other terms you would like to know more about, ask in comments and I'll point you toward the correct post.

A table of contents follows, but may load slightly slower than the rest of the page due to things involving Enochian or Javascript or some other fictive magical language.


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