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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: 25 September 2021

The Cotton-Gin Effect

The Cotton-Gin Effect

An Afrofuturist Reading of Star Trek: Discovery

(p.201) The Cotton-Gin Effect
Fighting for the Future

Whit Frazier Peterson


This chapter looks at the new television series Star Trek: Discovery, and investigate the troubling relationship Gabriel Lorca has with women of colour, particularly Michael Burnham. It specifically wants to analyse Lorca’s sense of propriety over the black body, one with a history that goes back to slavery, and that manifests itself here not only across time, but across alternate universes as well. It argues that the fact that certain assumptions about white male privilege manage to cross time, space and alternate universes in a series that successfully upends and criticizes many other racist and sexist tropes says a lot about how much room there is for us to examine aspects of our culture we accept uncritically. This chapter shows that afrofuturism as a critical approach is a strong tool for interrogating our cultural products and our cultural moment(s), past, present and future.

Keywords:   Star Trek, Star Trek Discovery, afrofuturism, black body, racism, sexism, white male privilege

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