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Star Trek: Opening Eyes to the Other

Authors: Krysta Indish*, Michigan Technological University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Keywords:Star Trek, Science Fiction, The Other, Discourse, Media
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Star Trek franchise has been making guesses at the future of our earth for as long as it's been on-air, pertaining to anything from economic systems to interactions between cultures. This poster will question the interactions of cultures within the broader Star Trek universe and how the members of Starfleet neutrally approach “the Other” while trying to avoid ethnocentrism. The consideration of the Other not only teaches one to have an open mind but it also critically reflects upon our own societal problems while obfuscating current politics. The Prime Directive, a Starfleet law prohibiting the disturbance of other cultures while on their missions, serves as the focal point of this study. By focusing on the Prime Directive of Starfleet, one could derive a new perspective on migration, and thus an active challenge to xenophobia. Xenophobia, however, becomes more complex because there are still glaring problems in the Star Trek franchise, from cultural misunderstandings to deeply ingrained misrepresentations of the Other. I will explore these perspectives through a discourse analysis of Star Trek, using single episodes to draw examples of the cultural mirroring. In this poster I demonstrate the changing discourse of “the Other” in Star Trek and draw comparisons to today’s world with the hope that it might shed light on alternative solutions to global everyday problems many people face due to xenophobia.

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