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Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture
     

Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture

by Jennifer E. Porter (Editor), Darcee L. McLaren (Editor)
 

Offers a multidisciplinary examination of Star Trek, religion, and American culture.

Drawing on a number of methodologies and disciplinary perspectives, this book boldly goes where none has gone before by focusing on the interplay between Star Trek, religion, and American culture as revealed in the four different Trek television series, and the major

Overview

Offers a multidisciplinary examination of Star Trek, religion, and American culture.

Drawing on a number of methodologies and disciplinary perspectives, this book boldly goes where none has gone before by focusing on the interplay between Star Trek, religion, and American culture as revealed in the four different Trek television series, and the major motion pictures as well. Explored from a Trek perspective are the portrayal and treatment of religion; the religious and mythic elements; the ritual aspects of the fan following; and the relationship between religion and other issues of contemporary concern.

Divided into three sections, this detailed study of religion, myth, and ritual in the Star Trek context extends the boundaries of the traditional categories of religious studies, and explores the process of the (re)creation of culture. The first section explores the ways in which religion has primarily been understood in the Star Trek franchise in relationship to science, technology, scientism, and ‘secular humanism.’ What do Star Trek and its creator Gene Roddenberry have to say about religion, and what does this reveal about changing American perceptions about the role, value, and place of religion in everyday life? Section Two examines the mythic power and appeal of Star Trek, and highlights the mythic and symbolic parallels between the series’ story lines and themes taken from both western religious tradition and the scientific and technological components of contemporary North American Society. In the final section, contributors discuss the mythic and ritual aspects of Star Trek fandom. How have Star Trek fans found meaning and value in the television programs, and how do they express that meaning in their lives?

Contributors include Robert Asa, Michael Jindra, Larry Kreitzer, Jeffrey S. Lamp, Peter Linford, Ian Maher, Anne Pearson, Gregory Peterson, and Jon Wagner.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…a great start toward beginning to analyze the religious themes and motifs embedded in much of the media around us.” — RSiSS: Religious Studies in Secondary Schools

“Star Trek and Sacred Ground is marvelous. All of the articles are relevant, clear and rational. They ‘interpret’ this material diversely, courageously and with precise excellence. The judgments are relevant, the chapters skillfully ordered, and the essays fit together in building interpretations. The contributors succeed in bringing forth their positions individually and collectively. This book is simply brilliant, and more than interesting to read.” — Robert M. Garvin, State University of New York, Albany

“The subject of religion/myth/spirituality has long been a favorite of Trek scholars and fans; this book gives the subject the serious treatment it deserves.” — Elyce Rae Helford, editor of Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on "Star Trek"

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the 13 essays in this book, religious studies professors in Canada, Britain and the United States discuss the role of religion in Star Trek. The first section of the book examines each of the successive television series, the second treats large themes (such as biblical imagery and death) and the third looks at the attitudes of fans. As the essays show, Star Trek has been torn between rejecting religion and affirming a quasi-religious faith in discovery and tolerance. This religiosity was present from the beginning--as in Spock's Vulcan creed of "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations"--but the later Star Trek series have more freely explored religious themes. The editors congratulate Star Trek: Voyager, the latest series, for "recovering sacred ground" through New Age spirituality. Unfortunately, while providing a nuanced reading of Star Trek's evolution, the authors pay too little attention to its larger context. The final section on "Trekkies" is valuable, but most of the essays concentrate on the motivations and behavior of the show's characters, ignoring the corporate television producers and the viewers who together brought--and continue to bring--these characters to life. The book seems written more for Star Trek fans than for students of religion or American culture. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Mining the four different television series and the major motion pictures, religious scholars and social scientists look at the portrayal and treatment of religion, the religious and mythic elements, the ritual aspects of the fan following, and the relationship between religion and other issues of contemporary concern. Their topics include the death of god in Who Mourns for Adonais?, death and life mediations, and understanding the phenomenon as myth. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791443330
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
11/01/1999
Series:
Star Trek Series
Pages:
315
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer E. Porter is Assistant Professor of Religion and Modern Culture at Memorial University, and Darcee L. McLaren is former Adjunct Professor at McMaster University.

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