Pilgrim motifs in Star Trek - FEDCON lecture by Gisela Zimmermann
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FedCon 28 | Vortrag | Pilgermotive in Star Trek

Pilgrim motifs in Star Trek

  • In 2151, Jonathan Archer’s crew meets a group of pilgrims in Star Trek: Enterprise. They are on their way to visit the Great Cloud of Agosoria.
  • The Voyager crew uses the Holy Pilgrim in the Delta Quadrant to free the Takarans from the Ferrengi.
  • Worf undertakes a pilgrimage to Boreth to find his faith again and Kirk reluctantly embarks on a pilgrimage to Sha Ka Ree in the 5th feature film with Spock’s half brother Sybok.

Throughout the Star Trek franchise there are pilgrim stories, although the human society of the future seems to be a very secular one (Gene Roddenberry, the series’ inventor, was an atheist). What is the reason for the recurring pilgrim stories despite the atheist world view of the Creator? What motives do pilgrims have in space?

The spiritual or religious experience or the search for it is a specific characteristic of all pilgrimages and can be found in all cultures and religions. So it is not surprising that the series authors also equip extraterrestrial cultures such as the Klingons, Vulcans and Bajorans with pilgrim rituals in their religions.

The presentation Pilgrim Motifs in Star Trek gives an overview of pilgrim rituals in the Star Trek series and films and tries to show how pilgrimages fit into the Star Trek universe.

Lecturer: Gisela Zimmermann
Duration: 45 min  -  The Lecture will be held in: german
Gisela Zimmermann studied Popular Cultures at the University of Zurich and completed her studies with a licentiate thesis on museum practice and regional identity.

Since 2018, she has been a doctoral student at the Research College "New Travel - New Media" at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau. In her dissertation, she researches how pilgrims deal with digital forms of communication and use them during their pilgrimage. Questions about the controversial discussion about the use of social media and whether new rituals manifest themselves in digital space are central topics of her research.

A small marginal project of this research is the search for pilgrimages, places of pilgrimage and pilgrim motifs in the science fiction genre.

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