2007-08 Staatsexamensklausur American Culture and Literature Olaf Simons

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See the preceding seminar Seminar: 2007-08 ASM Star Trek (1965-2005)

Staatsexamensklausur LA Gym – LA GHR – LA BBS: 27.02.2008, Literaturwissenschaft/Landeswissenschaft

  • Zugleich auch Magisterklausur

Deep Space 9 Episode 93 “For the Cause” (first aired on May 6, 1996) features a confrontation between the Maquis Michael Eddington and Captain Sisco, the man who has to organise the Federation’s peace keeping mission at the junction between the Alpha and the Gamma Quadrant. Eddington – in this confrontation – defends the Maquis rebellion with a statement of his own dissatisfaction about Federation politics:

I know you. I was like you once, but then I opened my eyes. Open your eyes, Captain. Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We’ve never harmed you. And yet we’re constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we’ve left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You’re only sending them replicators because one day they can take their “rightful place” on the Federation Council. You know In some ways you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You’re more insidious. You assimilate people and they don’t even know it.

1. Is it fair to read this statement as justified criticism of the whole Star Trek ideology?

(You might discuss whether there is a unified Star Trek or Federation ideology? How the different captains relate to any such ideology? Whether an answer is affected by the fact that this criticism is already a part of the Star Trek universe itself? How the Federation’s insistence on the Prime Directive fits into the criticised ideology?)

2. To what extent does Eddington’s criticism become a far more general criticism of US-American politics?

(You might think of different international political conflicts of the past forty years and of the complex situation the producers of Star Trek had to face if they sided too easily.)

Address both questions in your essay, yet feel free to focus on either.