Religious Studies | STAR TREK AND RELIGION
R222 | 10475 | Weaver, Mary Jo


We will examine some of the ways in which religion appears in the
Star Trek cluster (Original Series, Next Generation, and Voyager in
particular). The action of this popular science-fiction series is
set in the future, but the ideas and conflicts come from past and
present debates in the modern world. We will explore two main lines
of “religious” thought: the rejection of mainline religion in favor
or secular humanism and the tentative embrace of newer forms of
spirituality informed by modern physics and cosmology. Notice the
difference here between mainline or organized religion on the one
hand, and  spirituality on the other. Requirements: Grades will be
based on several things all of which work together: weekly quizzes
based on readings and ability to relate them to episodes, a
short “term paper” with specific steps you must complete—
consultation with AI about the topic, handing in an outline, handing
in the final paper; a cumulative final examination. Attendance is
expected/absence will be counted against you. A course that meets
twice/weekly usually means 150 minutes of class time (75 minutes
each class). We divide the time differently: 60 minutes the first
day, 75 minutes the second, and 15 minutes of tutorial time later
that week for those who have not done well on their weekly quizzes.
Required Texts: Paul Brockleman, Cosmology and Creation; Thomas
Richards, The Meaning of Star Trek; Mary Jo Weaver and Holly Folk,
eds., Star Trek and Religion Reader. There is no mid-term exam in
this course. Syllabus, assignments, announcements etc. will all be
posted on On-Course.