Dune, Part Two: An Interview with Dr. Kara Kennedy


Part Two of director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune films embeds viewers among the Fremen, the Indigenous inhabitants of the planet Arrakis. The sole source of the valuable drug spice, Arrakis has been colonized and its resources extracted by the Imperium. The Fremen fight to liberate themselves and their planet from Imperial control under the messianic leadership of Paul Atreides. In Frank Herbert’s original series of Dune novels, the Fremen were inspired by the Bedouin, nomadic pastoralist inhabitants of the Middle East. Aspects of Bedouin culture and lifeways as well as episodes from Bedouin history, such as the effects of resource extraction on Bedouin landscapes and Bedouin participation in the Great Arab Revolt, heavily informed the novels’ themes and narratives. In this episode, Dr. Kara Kennedy joins me to discuss representations of nomadic peoples in the Dune novels and their onscreen adaptations as well as her latest book Adaptations of Dune: Frank Herbert's Story on Screen (Blue Key, 2024).

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Maggie Freeman

Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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