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Narratives from the «Final Frontier»

A Postcolonial Reading of the Original Star Trek Series


Volker Gentejohann

Narratives links the currently most popular Literary/Cultural Theory with one of the most successful television productions of all times. The brief opening chapter gives a very concise introduction to the central concepts of postcolonial theory and the methodological background of this subversive reading of Star Trek. A mythology results, which poses the question: does popular culture rest on the same hegemonic discoursive practices as the elitist canon? The book yields compelling insights about the ideological deep-structure of modern mass media by reading the original Star Trek series against the grain instead of taking (post)modern-style entertainment at face value. The blending of Star Trek’s narratives and Western historical, political and social reality results in a unique view of the potential for controversy in the opposition of individual perspectives and the claim of ideological value-systems to universal truth(s).
Contents: Star Trek’s narratives analyzed with respect to their roots in modern mass-mediated culture on the one hand and traditional Western hegemonic culture on the other – Introduction of the theoretical concepts central to the analysis – The American heritage of Star Trek – American narratives in the context of Western humanism – The depiction of marginalized groups within Star Trek’s narratives – Multiplicity in human culture.