Star Trek as Myth

Essays on Symbol and Archetype at the Final Frontier


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About the Book

In the past, the examination of myth has traditionally been the study of the “Primitive” or the “Other.” More recently, myth has been increasingly employed in movies and in television productions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Star Trek television and movie franchise. This collection of essays on Star Trek brings together perspectives from scholars in fields including film, anthropology, history, American studies and biblical scholarship. Together the essays examine the symbolism, religious implications, heroic and gender archetypes, and lasting effects of the Star Trek “mythscape.”

About the Author(s)

Matthew Wilhelm Kapell teaches American studies, anthropology, and writing at Pace University in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4724-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5594-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction: The Significance of the Star Trek Mythos

(Matthew Wilhelm Kapell)      1


1. Star Trek as Myth and Television as Mythmaker

(Wm. Blake Tyrell)      19

2. A Structuralist Appreciation of Star Trek

(Peter J. Claus)      29

3. Some Implications of the Mythology in Star Trek

(C. Scott Littleton)      44

4. Star Trek: American Dream, Myth and Reality

(Ace G. Pilkington)      54

5. Speakers for the Dead: Star Trek, the Holocaust, and the Representation of Atrocity

(Matthew Wilhelm Kapell)      67

6. “Every Old Trick Is New Again”: Myth in Quotations and the Star Trek Franchise

(Djoymi Baker)      80


7. Star Trek as American Monomyth

(John Shelton Lawrence)      93

8. The Sisko, the Christ: A Comparison of Messiah Figures in the Star Trek Universe and the New Testament

(Jeffery S. Lamp)      112

9. Course in Federation Linguistics

(Richard R. Jones)      129

10. Evocations and Evasions of Archetypal Lesbian Love in Star Trek: Voyager

(Roger Kaufman)      144

11. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Surak: Star Trek: Enterprise, Anti-Catholicism and the Vulcan Reformation

(Jennifer E. Porter)      163

12. A Vision of a Time and Place: Spiritual Humanism and the Utopian Impulse

(Bruce Isaacs)      182

13. The Kirk Doctrine: The Care and Repair of Archetypal Heroic Leadership in J.J Abrams’ Star Trek

(Stephen McVeigh)      197

14. Conclusion: The Hero with a Thousand Red Shirts

(Matthew Wilhelm Kapell)      213

About the Contributors      221

Index      225

Book Reviews & Awards

“an enjoyable and accessible read… any self respecting Trekkie should absolutely read this book”—Journal of Religion and Popular Culture; “each essay stands as an excellent piece of scholarship, but together in a single volume, they create a fairly authoritative collection of Star Trek scholarship…both Star Trek and myth scholars should have this on the shelf…Kapell has produced a useful and versatile collection of Star Trek and modern myth reflective of the franchise’s impact on popular culture and our ongoing propensity to create myths.”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.