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benbess

If you were teaching a Star Trek class

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Hi Folks,

I've been a Star Trek fan since I was about 9-10 years old (which was in 1974). For many years now I've been a college professor, teaching art history. Each year we can usually propose a "special topics" class to teach, and next Fall it looks like I'm going to get to teach a course on Star Trek. I already have a course outline, have found several good readings, and have mapped out some themes. But I'm curious about what thoughts the Trek fans here might be about how they might approach a Star Trek class. If you were to teach Star Trek, what are some of the things you would want to cover? What episodes or movies would you most focus on, and why? What readings, either books or articles, might you assign to your students?

As you may have seen from the other thread, one of the small themes will be how Star Trek inspired engineers and influenced technology in our world, from the cell phone to the iPad.

Thinking about a whole course is maybe a bit much, and so let me back up and ask first what you might try to do on the first day. I should say that this course will be almost all undergrads, with maybe a scattering of grad students. Enrollment, fortunately, will be limited to only 15 or so, which allows for plenty of discussion. We can guess that those drawn to the class will probably mostly be fans, but there may be a few who have very little knowledge of Star Trek, but are drawn to trying out a film studies class. I'll pass out a little survey at the beginning of the very first class to find out about the level of knowledge of things Trek, but from past experience with other classes it's likely that there are some who will be new, and so things need to be pitched so that they can catch up.

In fact, thinking of the newbies, right now I'm planning to assign as a book for the class the "Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary." If you haven't seen it, this lavishly illustrated book, written by Paul Ruditis, covers almost all things Trek from all of the movies and different TV series. And so, for instance, if there's someone in the class who is only vaguely aware of what a Vulcan is, of what their philosophy is, and of who the specific Vulcans in Star Trek are, this book provides a fun way to figure that out. To make sure everyone's on the same page and reading this book, I'll probably have some short quizzes the first few weeks on it.

But almost everyone, newbie or not, will have seen or at least heard about last summer's Star Trek Into Darkness. I have mixed feelings about that movie, as most of you do, but one of the fascinating things for me was how it seemed to reference our recent Drone Wars. As you know, Admiral Marcus orders Kirk to use the "smart" torpedoes to remotely destroy an enemy of the Federation. Kirk first accepts this order, but then the objections from Scotty, and esp. Spock, cause him to take another path. To refresh them on this, I'll probably show them the relevant part of the movie, which is from about 20 minutes in to c. 40 minutes.

After that, in my little lecture on it I'll talk about how Star Trek has often paralleled and commented on controversial issues from the time when it was made, from the Vietnam War, to the Cold War, to Civil Rights, and so on.

After some discussion, I hope, I'll segue into how just as Star Trek is doing this in 2013, it was also doing it back in 1966. A brief introduction to the creation of Star Trek would then launch us into the classic Cold War episode Balance of Terror....For the rest of the semester, I should say, I'll be mainly focusing on the TV shows rather than the movies, and esp. on TOS and TNG. It's a once-a-week class, and so it's 2 hours and 45 minutes long. With online discussion and reviews outside of class, we will actually be able to view several whole episodes together in class.

Sorry this is so long! But I invite you to share your thoughts, if you'd like.

Edited by benbess

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Sounds like you've got it all figured out! :thumbup:

Not too much to add to that really; I like the approach of ST and its underlying relevance to current social issues (the "Gulliver's Travels" aspect that Gene Roddenberry used to sneak in modern day parallels past the '60s network censors). That's probably the most obvious starting point.

I would also like someone to tackle the subject of exactly what KIND of future would a ST future be. Would it be a social utopia of all races/creeds working together with common purpose, or would it be a stagnant bland vanilla future whose most interesting pop culture icons all seem to stem from the 20th century (why do we never see 23rd-24th century entertainment or music? Why is it always from our time or earlier)? It is seems to be a future mysteriously (and disturbingly) devoid of gay people; or perhaps the notions of gay and straight (along with gender and nationality) simply blurred into irrelevance? Racism seems to be a thing of the past, but what about racial identity? What is it like living in the Federation? Citizens of the future seem to be guaranteed all the benefits/comforts of a decent life, but is there some darker 'price tag' for it all (ala "Starship Troopers" and its mandated military service)?

These would also be topics I would love to see discussed in a ST class... :)

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The disconnect between technology, user privacy, and understanding of what these technologies mean is a good topic to cover. Definitely go with that.

I'm looking at this from an anthropological perspective, but if I were going to teach a class and use Star Trek as a teaching tool, I would definitely try to look at the cultural aspects that differentiate groups in the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, etc. First contact is first contact, whether it's an encounter between humans and Vulcans, or between a European and a member of the Mexica Tenochca. Each one carries their culture and language around in their head and they have to figure out how to bridge the gap between them. That's one thing I liked about Enterprise was they took the Universal Translator and forced people to learn aspects of the language to communicate. If you go that route, I would recommend Horace Miner's article on the Nacirema - it's an oldie, but it's short and forces students to evaluate their own culture from an outside perspective.

Another thing that you could look at is imperialism and colonization. The Romulans, Klingons, and Dominion did this overtly, but the Federation does this too, and in a more subtle way. The Federation expands its borders but they also colonize their member worlds and their allies by imposing their world views and sanctioning dissenters. One of the early TNG episodes addressed this - Korris and Kon-Mel were renegade Klingons who complained they were pacified by the Federation, and they're not that far from the truth, IMO. Though the Federation's intentions are benign, they still find ways to subtly introduce their ideas and affect cultures at the most fundamental levels. The idea of non-interference is good, yet the presence of the researcher/explorer still causes unintended consequences.

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It obviously depends on what the aims of the course are. What sort of things to you want to focus on?

One area might be; how Star Trek provided a critical commentary on modern events but dressed them up in future settings so that they could be explored from a safe distance.

As already mentioned, you've got everything from the cold war to 9/11. You've also got other issues such as environmental pollution (Force of Nature), immigration (Sanctuary), religious prophecies (Destiny), evolution and opposition to (Distant Origin), racial prejudice and bullying (Lineage), and more.

One thing I would think would be interesting (although I don't know whether it would be appropriate in an art history class) is some discussions on morality and ethics.

You could pick an episode that featured a moral dilemma, and use that to discuss whether the actions were right or not, and go off onto any tangents that that takes you. Or you could keep it on a general them such as "the Prime directive" and look at the merits and pitfalls of that.

Here are some examples off the top of my head:

From TNG: Justice, Suddenly Human, The Masterpiece Society, Ethics, The Outcast, The Quality of Life, Journey's End, Insurrection (movie).

From DS9: Duet, For The Uniform, Children of Time, In The Pale Moonlight, Chimera.

From Voyager: Death Wish, Tuvix, Riddles, Child's Play.

It's not really "moral", but Tapestry (TNG), is also a good one to think about.

One thing: If a college professor asked me to read "The Visual Dictionary" as a graduate student (or even an undergrad), I would feel somewhat patronised. Although it's not a bad book, I would say it is primarily intended for little kids.

There's an old book, Star Trek in Myth and Legend. It's been a while since I read it, and I'm not sure you'll be able to get it now, but I seem to remember that covering a few interesting topics that could be explored.

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I admire your enthusiasm and your courage for taking this on - I would feel intimidated because it wouldn't be hard to slip into a discussion about Star Trek and forget to actually teach about something using Star Trek as a tool. I agree with Zef'no though - the Visual Dictionary might be a hard sell to the class because some would have zero use for it afterward and they probably wouldn't get much for it if they went to the college bookstore. Better to refer them to sites like Memory Alpha and StarTrek.com so they can get the information for free.

Edited by Captain_Bravo

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Thanks, everyone, for your useful comments and suggestions.

I do feel mixed about assigning something as lightweight as the Trek Visual Dictionary. But, if I do have some newcomers who really don't know Trek at all, this would probably be a useful way to get them up to speed. Even for those who know the shows and movies, it's fairly fun imho. It's also pretty cheap, since new copies can be had from amazon for c. $16, and used copies are about $10. To me, it seems easier as a teaching tool for someone who might be lost than saying read wikipedia, or startrek.com or trekcore. But maybe I'm wrong about that. It's worth thinking about, and I still have about 3 months or so to decide.

When I've taught film courses I've sometimes used things like the Hitchcock and Philosophy series. There are some good things about the Star Trek and Philosophy book (which has the funny subtitle The Wrath of Kant), but mostly it seemed to be too much about philosophy and too little about Trek. But I should look at it again. It too has the advantage of being pretty low cost at c. $20 new. I might use just an article or two out of in in a reader.

The academic books on Star Trek, like this one, so far have not seemed a very good fit for the things I'm trying to do. But please suggest any titles that you think are good. I might have missed them, or maybe I need to give them another look.

My other readings are mostly going to be articles from academic journals. Below is the title of one example. Although the Visual Dictionary is quite elementary, this stuff will be more advanced and I hope provide some intellectual stimulation....

Borg Babes, Drones, and the Collective: Reading Gender and the Body in Star Trek

Mia Consalvo

This article studies how representations of the Borg challenge as well as reinforce traditional ideas about gender and the posthuman body. The Borg demonstrate that while traditional ideas about gender are hard to shake, there are some clear challenges to old stereotypes. The article examines the embodiment of the Borg at both the individual and collective level, and how current concerns about posthuman bodies, gender, and liberal individualism are dealt with in this regard.....

Edited by benbess

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If I were teaching the class and it was first day, I'd chart in summary why Star Trek is worth studying. I'd point out that many pilots and astronauts, television shows, actors, actresses, athletes and even Presidents have been inspired by it. And infact, our incumbent President is a self-proclaimed Trekkie. How technology has been made to copy Trek tech (iPads, cell-phones, bluetooths to name a few). And then lead into the fact that it is one of the longest running franchises in television history and give the monetary value it has generated. And then perhaps end on the note of how fans of the franchise are so many, they've made special conventions just for them.

Edited by Admiral Harmon

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....I would also like someone to tackle the subject of exactly what KIND of future would a ST future be. Would it be a social utopia of all races/creeds working together with common purpose, or would it be a stagnant bland vanilla future whose most interesting pop culture icons all seem to stem from the 20th century (why do we never see 23rd-24th century entertainment or music? Why is it always from our time or earlier)? It is seems to be a future mysteriously (and disturbingly) devoid of gay people; or perhaps the notions of gay and straight (along with gender and nationality) simply blurred into irrelevance? Racism seems to be a thing of the past, but what about racial identity? What is it like living in the Federation? Citizens of the future seem to be guaranteed all the benefits/comforts of a decent life, but is there some darker 'price tag' for it all (ala "Starship Troopers" and its mandated military service)?

These would also be topics I would love to see discussed in a ST class... :)

Yes, it's interesting that in Trek's future, while in general accepting, seems to have erased gay characters that you can identify, as least as far as I recall right now. There was that weird episode with Dr. Crusher that tried to do something with gender bending, and it was better than nothing, but a but awkward and wrong note iirc.

Anyway, I like the issues you bring up. If you think of more discussion questions, or readings that relate, please pass them on....

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The disconnect between technology, user privacy, and understanding of what these technologies mean is a good topic to cover. Definitely go with that.

I'm looking at this from an anthropological perspective, but if I were going to teach a class and use Star Trek as a teaching tool, I would definitely try to look at the cultural aspects that differentiate groups in the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, etc. First contact is first contact, whether it's an encounter between humans and Vulcans, or between a European and a member of the Mexica Tenochca. Each one carries their culture and language around in their head and they have to figure out how to bridge the gap between them. That's one thing I liked about Enterprise was they took the Universal Translator and forced people to learn aspects of the language to communicate. If you go that route, I would recommend Horace Miner's article on the Nacirema - it's an oldie, but it's short and forces students to evaluate their own culture from an outside perspective.

Another thing that you could look at is imperialism and colonization. The Romulans, Klingons, and Dominion did this overtly, but the Federation does this too, and in a more subtle way. The Federation expands its borders but they also colonize their member worlds and their allies by imposing their world views and sanctioning dissenters. One of the early TNG episodes addressed this - Korris and Kon-Mel were renegade Klingons who complained they were pacified by the Federation, and they're not that far from the truth, IMO. Though the Federation's intentions are benign, they still find ways to subtly introduce their ideas and affect cultures at the most fundamental levels. The idea of non-interference is good, yet the presence of the researcher/explorer still causes unintended consequences.

Very good topics. By any chance can you find a reference for that article you mention by Horace Miner? Many thanks.

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It obviously depends on what the aims of the course are. What sort of things to you want to focus on?

One area might be; how Star Trek provided a critical commentary on modern events but dressed them up in future settings so that they could be explored from a safe distance.

As already mentioned, you've got everything from the cold war to 9/11. You've also got other issues such as environmental pollution (Force of Nature), immigration (Sanctuary), religious prophecies (Destiny), evolution and opposition to (Distant Origin), racial prejudice and bullying (Lineage), and more.

One thing I would think would be interesting (although I don't know whether it would be appropriate in an art history class) is some discussions on morality and ethics.

You could pick an episode that featured a moral dilemma, and use that to discuss whether the actions were right or not, and go off onto any tangents that that takes you. Or you could keep it on a general them such as "the Prime directive" and look at the merits and pitfalls of that.

Here are some examples off the top of my head:

From TNG: Justice, Suddenly Human, The Masterpiece Society, Ethics, The Outcast, The Quality of Life, Journey's End, Insurrection (movie).

From DS9: Duet, For The Uniform, Children of Time, In The Pale Moonlight, Chimera.

From Voyager: Death Wish, Tuvix, Riddles, Child's Play.

It's not really "moral", but Tapestry (TNG), is also a good one to think about.

One thing: If a college professor asked me to read "The Visual Dictionary" as a graduate student (or even an undergrad), I would feel somewhat patronised. Although it's not a bad book, I would say it is primarily intended for little kids.

There's an old book, Star Trek in Myth and Legend. It's been a while since I read it, and I'm not sure you'll be able to get it now, but I seem to remember that covering a few interesting topics that could be explored.

Good topics and episodes. I'll look for Trek in Myth and Legend. Thanks!

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Another good book you might want to check out is "Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future" by Daniel Leonard Bernardi.

It's a bit more radical in its implications that the future that ST paints isn't necessarily all wine and roses.

51JfussV1FL.jpg

Like I said, it's a bit "Malcolm X"-ish at times, but a very good read (Bernardi makes some VERY valid arguments)...

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Nothing I can add, really, so I'll just say that as a European, I'm fascinated by the concept of the Federation in Star Trek, which seems to find a parallel in some regards in today's European Union. Today's EU too consists of many different nations with different cultures, which had often been at war against each other for centuries if not millennia, yet now they're peacefully uniting under the same (republican-constitutional) values.

Of course the EU is no utopia, and it's really not safe yet that it will persist or fall apart eventually once there is severe crisis, and there is much legitimate and even much more irrational criticism towards the EU. But it's motto "united in diversity" seems very Trek-ish to me.

So... not sure if that helps you with your class, but maybe you can mention that the vision of Star Trek has appeal even beyond the US. :-)

Edited by Sim

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I'd look at the following:

TOS parallels to American imperialism, the cold war, and so on, the federation is the American "melting pot."

The role of technology vs. humanity - Trek has always had a focus on humanity despite living in an advanced society and have always encountered societies that have fallen victim to technology - Kirk vs. Computers (A Taste of Armageddon, Return of the Archons, Ultimate Computer, and so on), V'Ger, The Borg on TNG, thoughts on Genetic Engineering.

The Kirk-Spock-McCoy trifecta as a representation of humanity as a whole Spocks logic, McCoys passion and feelings, and Kirks gut & rationality which is able to balance both sides - it's an expansion on Holmes & Watson in many ways - later Mulder and Scully use this kind of relationship as well.

I don't think that I would have students have a book - I think that the shows themselves can speak for themselves, particularly if you have grad students - they should be able to carry the theory.

I'd also bring in some Marxist theory and feminist discourse in there as well.

I'd also stick primarily with TOS, however I would bring in some TNG to see the change in Rodenberry's views of what Star Trek should be, and how it reflected the times in which they were made. I would avoid all other Trek - not because it doesn't apply, but because there is so much of it, a lot of which is just entertainment grinded out of the holywood sausage factory - your idea of using the new movie may be a good acceptation though.

I'd love to hear how the course goes... please keep us posted.

Edited by digitalmoose

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I'd look at the following:

TOS parallels to American imperialism, the cold war, and so on, the federation is the American "melting pot."

The role of technology vs. humanity - Trek has always had a focus on humanity despite living in an advanced society and have always encountered societies that have fallen victim to technology - Kirk vs. Computers (A Taste of Armageddon, Return of the Archons, Ultimate Computer, and so on), V'Ger, The Borg on TNG, thoughts on Genetic Engineering.

The Kirk-Spock-McCoy trifecta as a representation of humanity as a whole Spocks logic, McCoys passion and feelings, and Kirks gut & rationality which is able to balance both sides - it's an expansion on Holmes & Watson in many ways - later Mulder and Scully use this kind of relationship as well.

I don't think that I would have students have a book - I think that the shows themselves can speak for themselves, particularly if you have grad students - they should be able to carry the theory.

I'd also bring in some Marxist theory and feminist discourse in there as well.

I'd also stick primarily with TOS, however I would bring in some TNG to see the change in Rodenberry's views of what Star Trek should be, and how it reflected the times in which they were made. I would avoid all other Trek - not because it doesn't apply, but because there is so much of it, a lot of which is just entertainment grinded out of the holywood sausage factory - your idea of using the new movie may be a good acceptation though.

I'd love to hear how the course goes... please keep us posted.

I'd go further and add stuff after Roddenberry went the way of the dinosaurs. How Brannon Braga and others carried on his legacy and how they made changes to it.

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The Kirk-Spock-McCoy trifecta as a representation of humanity as a whole Spocks logic, McCoys passion and feelings, and Kirks gut & rationality which is able to balance both sides - it's an expansion on Holmes & Watson in many ways - later Mulder and Scully use this kind of relationship as well.

I've also read that this trifecta has a strong resemblence to Freudian psychology, insofar as Freud believed the human psyche has three aspects, the (often unconscious or repressed), primal emotional "It" (represented by McCoy), the abstract intellectual "Super-Ego" (represented by Spock) and finally the "Ego" which is in the center of both, tries to balance both and takes all the actions (and many psychological problems arise when there is no balance between the three).

But by no means am I an expert on psychology and accordingly cannot say more about this theory. But assuming it's true to some extent, that would allow for a very basic, instinctive identification with the TOS trifecta. :)

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The disconnect between technology, user privacy, and understanding of what these technologies mean is a good topic to cover. Definitely go with that.

I'm looking at this from an anthropological perspective, but if I were going to teach a class and use Star Trek as a teaching tool, I would definitely try to look at the cultural aspects that differentiate groups in the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, etc. First contact is first contact, whether it's an encounter between humans and Vulcans, or between a European and a member of the Mexica Tenochca. Each one carries their culture and language around in their head and they have to figure out how to bridge the gap between them. That's one thing I liked about Enterprise was they took the Universal Translator and forced people to learn aspects of the language to communicate. If you go that route, I would recommend Horace Miner's article on the Nacirema - it's an oldie, but it's short and forces students to evaluate their own culture from an outside perspective.

Another thing that you could look at is imperialism and colonization. The Romulans, Klingons, and Dominion did this overtly, but the Federation does this too, and in a more subtle way. The Federation expands its borders but they also colonize their member worlds and their allies by imposing their world views and sanctioning dissenters. One of the early TNG episodes addressed this - Korris and Kon-Mel were renegade Klingons who complained they were pacified by the Federation, and they're not that far from the truth, IMO. Though the Federation's intentions are benign, they still find ways to subtly introduce their ideas and affect cultures at the most fundamental levels. The idea of non-interference is good, yet the presence of the researcher/explorer still causes unintended consequences.

Very good topics. By any chance can you find a reference for that article you mention by Horace Miner? Many thanks.

Body Ritual among the Nacirema

  1. HORACE MINER

Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1525/aa.1956.58.3.02a00080

This one is old-school (1950s) but it's a classic...

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Borg Babes, Drones, and the Collective: Reading Gender and the Body in Star Trek

Mia Consalvo

This article studies how representations of the Borg challenge as well as reinforce traditional ideas about gender and the posthuman body. The Borg demonstrate that while traditional ideas about gender are hard to shake, there are some clear challenges to old stereotypes. The article examines the embodiment of the Borg at both the individual and collective level, and how current concerns about posthuman bodies, gender, and liberal individualism are dealt with in this regard.....

Her bio says she wrote her doctoral dissertation on Star Trek. Just shows how different disciplines have different attitudes. Good Lord, if I use freaking metaphor in my dissertation I'll get my ass kicked...

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If I were teaching the class and it was first day, I'd chart in summary why Star Trek is worth studying. I'd point out that many pilots and astronauts, television shows, actors, actresses, athletes and even Presidents have been inspired by it. And infact, our incumbent President is a self-proclaimed Trekkie. How technology has been made to copy Trek tech (iPads, cell-phones, bluetooths to name a few). And then lead into the fact that it is one of the longest running franchises in television history and give the monetary value it has generated. And then perhaps end on the note of how fans of the franchise are so many, they've made special conventions just for them.

I didn't know that President Obama is a Trekkie. By any chance do you have a link where he says that? And what other famous people are also Trekkies?

I like your idea for the first day intro. Thanks!

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Body Ritual among the Nacirema

  1. HORACE MINER

Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1525/aa.1956.58.3.02a00080

This one is old-school (1950s) but it's a classic...

1950s? I'm confused why an article dating a decade before Star Trek works. I feel like a Herbert, but would you explain what it's basically about and why you recommend it? Many thanks.

Edited by benbess

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Another good book you might want to check out is "Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future" by Daniel Leonard Bernardi.

It's a bit more radical in its implications that the future that ST paints isn't necessarily all wine and roses.

51JfussV1FL.jpg

Like I said, it's a bit "Malcolm X"-ish at times, but a very good read (Bernardi makes some VERY valid arguments)...

I read some of this book, but it seemed somewhat one-sided to me. I guess I'm like Roddenberry and too optimistic, but I see Star Trek as much more of a glass half full situation when it comes to ethnicity, rather than half or three-quarters empty.

I agree that TOS was racist, but for the time it represented significant progress in the 1960s.

TNG also has problems, but also represented progress in the context of the late 80s.

And DS9 and Voyager represented major progress.

Anyway, you're right that it makes some valid points, but I find the tone and argument generally negative and one-sided.

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I'd look at the following:

TOS parallels to American imperialism, the cold war, and so on, the federation is the American "melting pot."

The role of technology vs. humanity - Trek has always had a focus on humanity despite living in an advanced society and have always encountered societies that have fallen victim to technology - Kirk vs. Computers (A Taste of Armageddon, Return of the Archons, Ultimate Computer, and so on), V'Ger, The Borg on TNG, thoughts on Genetic Engineering.

The Kirk-Spock-McCoy trifecta as a representation of humanity as a whole Spocks logic, McCoys passion and feelings, and Kirks gut & rationality which is able to balance both sides - it's an expansion on Holmes & Watson in many ways - later Mulder and Scully use this kind of relationship as well.

...I'd also stick primarily with TOS, however I would bring in some TNG...

I'd love to hear how the course goes... please keep us posted.

I'm planning to do mainly TOS and TNG, but with small dash of DS9 and a larger dash of Voyager....

Here's the list of episodes so far, subject to change.

week 1: intro, Star Trek Into Darkness (20 minutes), Balance of Terror

week 2: City on the Edge of Forever, Amok Time

3: The Doomsday Machine, Journey to Babel

4: The Enterprise Incident, shift to TNG, The Defector

5: The Measure of a Man, Yesterday's Enterprise

6: The Offspring, Sins of the Father

7: Best of Both Worlds I & II

8: Darmok, Ensign Ro

9: Chain of Command I & II

10: shift to Voyager Scorpion I & I + The Gift

11: Hope and Fear, shift to DS9 for Duet

12: Student Presentations

13: Student Presentations

14: Student Presentations

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The Kirk-Spock-McCoy trifecta as a representation of humanity as a whole Spocks logic, McCoys passion and feelings, and Kirks gut & rationality which is able to balance both sides - it's an expansion on Holmes & Watson in many ways - later Mulder and Scully use this kind of relationship as well.

I've also read that this trifecta has a strong resemblence to Freudian psychology, insofar as Freud believed the human psyche has three aspects, the (often unconscious or repressed), primal emotional "It" (represented by McCoy), the abstract intellectual "Super-Ego" (represented by Spock) and finally the "Ego" which is in the center of both, tries to balance both and takes all the actions (and many psychological problems arise when there is no balance between the three).

But by no means am I an expert on psychology and accordingly cannot say more about this theory. But assuming it's true to some extent, that would allow for a very basic, instinctive identification with the TOS trifecta. :)

Fascinating! I have to admit I've never read that. If by any chance you run across the a link for that article, please post. thanks.

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Nothing I can add, really, so I'll just say that as a European, I'm fascinated by the concept of the Federation in Star Trek, which seems to find a parallel in some regards in today's European Union. Today's EU too consists of many different nations with different cultures, which had often been at war against each other for centuries if not millennia, yet now they're peacefully uniting under the same (republican-constitutional) values.

Of course the EU is no utopia, and it's really not safe yet that it will persist or fall apart eventually once there is severe crisis, and there is much legitimate and even much more irrational criticism towards the EU. But it's motto "united in diversity" seems very Trek-ish to me.

So... not sure if that helps you with your class, but maybe you can mention that the vision of Star Trek has appeal even beyond the US. :-)

Yes, the Federation does seem a bit EU-ish. I like it!++

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Here's the list of episodes so far, subject to change.

week 1: intro, Star Trek Into Darkness (20 minutes), Balance of Terror

week 2: City on the Edge of Forever, Amok Time

3: The Doomsday Machine, Journey to Babel

4: The Enterprise Incident, shift to TNG, The Defector

5: The Measure of a Man, Yesterday's Enterprise

6: The Offspring, Sins of the Father

7: Best of Both Worlds I & II

8: Darmok, Ensign Ro

9: Chain of Command I & II

10: shift to Voyager Scorpion I & I + The Gift

11: Hope and Fear, shift to DS9 for Duet

12: Student Presentations

13: Student Presentations

14: Student Presentations

As I student looking at that, I would have thought "cool, easy credits - just sit around watching TV!" :thumbup:

As a teacher, I'd be curious as to what you actually think this (and these episodes in particular) is going to teach them?

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