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October 1992


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 2 Oct 1992 15:51:05 EDT
Your message of Fri, 02 Oct 92 12:14:00 -0600. <[log in to unmask]>
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Hello, Richard. Good to hear from you. I am looking forward to being on a panel
 at SCS this year dealing with children's culture which includes Richard,
Marsha Kinder, and Ellen Seiter.
  About teaching my book, The questions you pose are ones I pondered in writing
the book. I decided against including addresses in the book even though some --
indeed, many -- fans wanted me to do so. I do know of some fans who are all too
happy to have their work shown and taught. I have in the past had a group of
students order a zine from its publisher and discussed it as a group. This is
a prefered way to go since it doesn't violate the ethics of fandom which
 prohibit xeroxing of sections from zines. I had talked by telephone with the
ahead of time. Basically what I would recommend doing is call or write to me
privately and I can arrange for you to get some appropriate fan produced
 material. I must be quick to say that I do not personally circulate any
without first getting approval from the fan producers and that I believe we
should follow the rules established by that community concerning its classroom
   Text-based essays on Star Trek: Academics have written almost as much about
Star Trek as the fans have with the notable exception that most of what we have
written is thick-headed and wrong. I cite some such essays in the book and don't
 have full references now. There is a book length bibliography of SOME of the
articles written on ST which might be worth looking at. If not, pushed, I could
probably make some begrudging recommendations. You might look at Lawrence and
Jewett's THE AMERICAN MONOMYTH which feels compelled to trash fan
 interpretations before it can justify its own dubious reading via Joseph
 Campbell. You might
look at the essay, "Captain Kirk, Cold Warrior" that appeared in Journal of
Popular Film and Television -- not a bad ideological reading which is attentive
to its historical context. You might also look at popular constructions of
the series such as THE MAKING OF STAR TREK or even some of the coverage from
commercial magazines such as STARLOG. The problem with most of what academis
have written about the series, from my point of view, is that they always take
some of the worst or least popular episodes and do ideological readings of
them. Let's choose a really bad episode where the structures I want to analyze
are bone obvious and describe it as representative of the whole and as
 accounting for what audiences find there. Fans recognize something many of us
don't want to acknowledge because it gums up our methodologies: the episodes
means something in the context of a series, in relation to all of the othere
episodes. If I was doing what you suggest, I would teach my book alongside
Tulloch and Alvarado's DOCTOR WHO: THE UNFOLDING TEXT which was written with
a respect for the SF genre and an awareness of the episodes placement within
 both a historical framework and in relation to the other episodes in the
It is a good example of what the best academic writers on science fiction have
to say.
  Your third question was what episodes to show: I would recommend "AMOK
TIME" on the old series as a particularly central episode in the fan reading,
as one that poses questions about the friendship between Kirk and Spock, about
gender and sexuality, and the notion of the alien within the series. Other
central old series texts in the old series would be: JOURNEY TO BABEL,
CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, THE SPACE SEED. If you wanted to broaden this
to include the new series, you want YESTERDAY'S ENTERPRISE or  THE MEASURE OF A
MAN. The old series episodes are commercially available on video. To get
new series episodes, either write me or ask your nearest ST fans.