Cover image for Star trek and history : race-ing toward a white future
Star trek and history : race-ing toward a white future
Bernardi, Daniel, 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 247 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PN1995.9.S694 B37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Star Trek is an enduring icon in American popular culture. For many viewers, the science fiction series represents the bold exploration of the unknown and the humanistic respect of the foreign and the alien. In fact, it is Star Trek's vision of a utopian future where humans no longer engage in racism, sexism, capitalism, among other "-isms" that many fans claim is the main reason for their loyalty. But is the visionary Trek future world truly colorblind?

Star Trek and History traces the shifting and reforming meaning of race articulated throughout the Star Trek television series, feature films, and fan community. Daniel Bernardi investigates and politicizes the presentation of race in Star Trek in the original series of the 1960s, the feature films and television spin-offs of the 1980s and 1990s, and the current fan community on the Internet. Through both critical and historical analysis, the book proposes a method of studying the framing of race in popular film and television that integrates sociology, critical theory, and cultural studies.

Bernardi examines the representational and narrative functions of race in Star Trek and explores how the meaning of race in the science fiction series has been facilitated or constrained by creative and network decision-making, by genre, by intertextuality, and by fans. He interprets how the changing social and political movements of the times have influenced the production and meaning of Trek texts and the ways in which the ongoing series negotiated and reflected these turbulent histories. Most significantly, Bernardi tells us why is it important for readers to better understand the articulation of race in this enduring icon of American popular culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Though it uses an assemblage of current theories of the politics of mass communication and of the aesthetics of the moving image, this book manages to inquire into the racial politics of the various versions of Star Trek without descending into obscure jargon. Bernardi takes an innovative path, studying the idea of race as offered up in the long-running science fiction epic from the multiple angles presented by the original television version and its successors, the theatrical movie versions, and (most interesting for scholars) the extensions of the series created by its fans. The author began this last mode of inquiry casually--attending conventions and reading the "fanzines" of the devotees of the series. This led him to STREK-L, an early 1990s Internet server devoted to a seemingly limitless chronicling of the imaginations, prejudices, and literary politics of Star Trek's fans. The result is the startling notion that the reader's imagination embraces a range far beyond any author's intention. The interested student or scholar will also wish to consult the work of Michael C. Pounds. This well-annotated volume--with its rich bibliography, detailed filmography, useful stills both from the screen and publicity handouts, and useful index--is recommended primarily for graduate and research collections. T. Cripps; formerly, Morgan State University

Google Preview