Star Trek and Human Rights.
Star Trek’s progressive, humanist outlook has always involved the extension of legal protection to a wide range of non-human entities. The courtroom battles fought by Data and Voyager’s EMH reflect how legal status is called into question in our own world as a way of justifying exploitation. Although Starfleet—for the most part—upholds the same moral principles enshrined in the UN and European rights charters, other species, such as the Cardassians, show a systematic disregard for the rights of individuals—human or not.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Guinevere Nell of The Briar Patch and Clara Cook for a special episode to mark International Human Rights Day, recorded live at the London School of Economics. We consider how Star Trek has engaged with real-world debates about human and animal rights, the impact of war on our most dearly held principles, and the limitations placed on the Federation’s role as an interstellar moral police force.
Rights for Non-humans (00:09:37)
Moral Dilemmas vs. Legal Debates (00:29:20)
Rights in Other Cultures (00:34:40)
Cardassian Rights Abuses (00:41:50)
When the Laws Fall Silent (00:57:00)
Collective Rights (01:08:00)
Clara Cook and Guinevere Nell
Tony Black (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.
Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection. We look at some of the inspirations behind the script of the third TNG film, including Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and discuss Piller’s book Fade In.
The British Isles in Star Trek. We discuss the portrayal of our homelands over a few synthales at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and examine real-world independence movements and the effects of transporters on national identity.
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.