Could Star Trek and other science fiction works be used as a way to address major issues in society?

Proposal:

The last 50 years of human history have been plagued with issues ranging from racism to homophobia, but when media became more mainstream and movies and television became available worldwide, it brings the question could this mainstream media be a tool to address many of these issues. Many works of writing have influenced society, but television and movies give a visual perspective of the story and for many people, it was easier to understand and analyze.

Star Trek has been around since the 1960s and it has come a long way since its original series, but throughout the franchise, they have used episodes to address certain issues or use allegorical references to discuss certain topics. Tv and movies have become the modern outlet for science fiction and Star Trek and like many other works of science fiction, try to incorporate real-life situations and events Into their episodes or movie. For Example, in Star Trek white lead kissing a black woman was unheard of and like many other issues, Star Trek wanted to push the Barriers of race, religion, ethics, and science.

Sources:

Books, Photograph courtesy National Geographic, and Photograph courtesy CBS/National Geographic Books. ‘Star Trek’ Is Right About Almost Everything. 16 June 2016, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/06/star-trek-science-space-astronomy-technology-fazekas/.

This article discusses Star Trek and how the last 50 years of Star Trek have had such an impact on society. They touch on how Star Trek has inspired innovators over the years to create the technology that we use regularly today. This is important to the argument because the article provides an in-depth look at the Star Trek Universe and talks about the impacts Star Trek has made over the past decades. This is essential in understanding how worldbuilding in science fiction has made such an impact.

Cunningham, Joel. “Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books with a Powerful Message of Social Justice.” The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 21 Jan. 2019, www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/20-sci-fi-fantasy-books-message-social-justice/.

This Barnes and Noble article is a trusted bookseller and provides reliable information. The article discusses some of the instances of science fiction pushing the bounds on major issues. For example, Captain Kirk and Uhura kissing on Star Trek, which was one of the first bi-racial kisses on screen. This is important to the research because it addresses some of the evidence that Science fiction has a strong influence on society.

Dunbar, Brian. “The Science of Star Trek.” NASA, NASA, 18 July 2016, www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/star_trek.htm

This article makes references to various technological developments designed in Star Trek and how each development has impacted real-life scientists and institutions. For example, they talk about androids and how the android character in Star Trek has pushed scientists to develop something very similar. This is important to the research paper because the article helps analyze the major impact Star Trek’s world-building has had on society technologically and culturally.

Gunn, Eileen. “How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 1 May 2014, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/how-americas-leading-science-fiction-authors-are-shaping-your-future-180951169/.

This article like many in this field discusses how science fiction isn’t about predicting the future but contemplating the various futures. It also addresses some of the major impacts that science fiction has had on society like in current days many tech companies have science fiction writers talk to innovators to help inspire and come up with new ideas. This is important to the research because it helps break down the value of science fiction and its connection to everything.

Halter, Casey. “8 Ways Star Trek Helped Change Science and the Future as We Know It.” SYFY WIRE, SYFY WIRE, 2 Jan. 2019, www.syfy.com/syfywire/8-ways-star-trek-helped-change-science-and-the-future-as-we-know-it.

One of the reasons people love space travel is because of the unknown element. While society is still even today at the beginning of space travel, there are still logistics to figure out and in this article, a discussion of the logistics of space travel is heavily talked about. This is important to the research paper because it further discusses how world-building in Star Trek has helped scientists even today create a plan for what to do if Humans were able to travel across the stars.

Howell, Elizabeth. “Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology.” Space.com, Space, 12 July 2018, www.space.com/31802-star-trek-space-tech.html.

This article focuses mainly on the first Star Trek series released in 1966, which is focused on space exploration and exploring new worlds. It discusses how much of the original show was also created as allegories to discuss the major issues in the 1960s. This is important to the paper because it goes into the social and cultural effects that this franchise has had on society as well as the need to explore space.

Kassé, Sam. “Worldbuilding in a Novel: 120+ World Building Questions to Get It Right.” Self Publishing School, 12 Nov. 2020, self-publishingschool.com/worldbuilding/.

This article dives into the techniques for world-building and how creating a fictional world is not a simple feat and requires excessive planning, but the harder issue is to expand a created world without creating plot holes or losing the theme of the fictional world. This article is helpful to this topic because it addresses the struggles in world-building and helps show how the Star Trek franchise has expanded successfully and maintained its theme of space exploration and united peace.

 

Mission. “A Look Into The Future: The Value of Science Fiction.” Medium, Mission.org, 12 Apr. 2019, medium.com/the-mission/a-look-into-the-future-the-value-of-science-fiction-3ac1519de7d9.

In this piece, they talk about the many great sayings of famous science fiction writers. For example, Issac Asimov said “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.” This like much of the article addresses whether science fiction could be a tool to address major issues. This is important to the research paper because like many articles this helps uncover the true nature of science fiction and the relevance it has in everyday life.

3 thoughts on “Could Star Trek and other science fiction works be used as a way to address major issues in society?”

  1. Phillip, I like that you’re moving your project in this direction (as we discussed), but the proposal is still pretty underdeveloped/general. Flesh out your ideas, provide specifics, and make your argument.

  2. The proposal is clear on what the research question and topic; how can media (specifically Star Trek) be a tool to help address certain issues in society such as race and homophobia? A study of the effect media has on modern society, which directly relates to science fiction.
    A little more on why this topic is important can be added. The proposal states the impact through the example given, but a more direct explanation on why this matters to people, such as representation, could enhance the proposal. The proposal could also use a conclusion or reflection.

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