Star Trek

Daniel Bernardi and Michael Green

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Star Trek


Few popular narratives in recent history have generated as much cultural material as Star Trek: six television series and eleven feature films, as well as novels, comic books, video and role-playing games, conventions, websites, and fan fictions. In other words, Star Trek is more than just a television show and feature film franchise. The Making of Star Trek (1968), by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry, was among the first trade books in what would also become a Star Trek publishing juggernaut. Hundreds of popular novels, nonfiction monographs, and essays have been published over the last five decades, from the Star Trek Encyclopedia (1997) to The Klingon Hamlet (2000), a version of Shakespeare’s play written entirely in the fan-created language of one of the most popular alien species represented in the Trek mega-text. Scholarly interest in Star Trek gained momentum a decade after the original series (TOS) was cancelled by NBC in 1969. Indeed, Star Trek was becoming a phenomenon around the same time that cultural studies, critical theory, and film and media studies were evolving in the academy. The original show and its spin-offs used casting, metaphors (aliens), and allegories (wars between worlds) to engage in controversial social issues, including racism, gender equality, the “nature” of sexual identity, nationalism, and colonialism, among other contentious subjects—which happened to also be the subjects of new critical inquiry. In the 1990s, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) solidified the fan following of the Star Trek narrative around the time that audience and reception studies began to compete with textual analysis as a preferred critical mode of study. Spearheaded by Henry Jenkins, fan and audience studies have become a primary area of Star Trek scholarship in particular, and of film and media studies more generally. Important critical Trek analysis has emerged from other disciplines as well, including sociology, political science, history, religion, and philosophy. This bibliography represents a cross section of the most important scholarship on this unique cultural phenomenon.

Article.  5568 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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