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Fighting for the FutureEssays on Star Trek: Discovery$
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Sabrina Mittermeier and Mareike Spychala

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621761

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621761.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

A Star Trek About Being Star Trek

A Star Trek About Being Star Trek

History, Liberalism, and Discovery’s Cold War Roots

(p.41) A Star Trek About Being Star Trek
Fighting for the Future

Torsten Kathke


At the height of the Cold War, the original Star Trek series provided viewers with a utopian, racially inclusive, and altogether progressive alternative to the present standoff among superpowers. Yet, at the same time, it was caught within the Cold War world system. Star Trek may have interrogated U.S. policy in the Cold War, frequently posing the question what its heroic protagonists were supposed to do when given morally tenuous options, but it never questioned that the crew the show portrayed in fact was heroic and good. After the original run, Star Trek remained a narrative corollary to popular imaginaries of history. Trends, fads, and new focus points in historiography frequently cropped up in its later iterations. This chapter argues that Discovery however operates on an added meta level that is not found in any of the other editions of the franchise. It is not just political in the sense that it takes stances in its narratives and challenges viewers’ preconceptions regarding current political issues. It also pointedly reasserts Star Trek’s own role as a cultural force that can, and wants to be, part of such a discourse.

Keywords:   Star Trek, Star Trek Discovery, cold war, history, liberalism, political

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