Religious Studies | Star Trek & Religion
R222 | 3966 | Weaver


Examines some of the ways in which religion appears in the Star Trek
Cluster (Original Series, Next Generation, and Voyager
specifically).  The action of this science-fiction series is set in
the future, but the ideas come from past and present debates, many of
them about religion (its meaning, its place, its value).  We will
explore two related areas of religious thinking in Trek, one critical
and the other reconstructive.  The first part of the semester will be
devoted to reading some classics of the critical approach to religion
who hoped for the demise of religion (Hume, Freud, Marx, e.g.).  The
second part of the semester will focus on modern critics whose
critique of traditional religion leads them to believe that religion
can be re-imagined in mystical or cosmic terms.
The course is taught in two 75-minute class periods each week.  The
first day of each week is a combination lecture/discussion about the
week’s reading assignment.  On the second day, students will watch a
Trek episode and take a weekly quiz (based on reading and its
application to the episode along with lecture notes from that week).
Grades will be based on weekly quizzes, a short (6pp) term paper, and
a comprehensive final exam. Readings will be available on-line and,
together with one or two books, will constitute the reading for the
course.