Upcoming talks on the politics of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


Do you find recent political developments depressing? I know I do. If so, you may be interested in two upcoming events where I will be speaking about the politics of Star Wars and Star Trek. If nothing, else boldly going into a galaxy far, far away is likely to be more uplifting than the ongoing 2016 election! Both events are free and open to the public:

On August 1, at noon, I will be commenting on Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein's new book, The World According to Star Wars, at a Book Forum at the Cato Institute, in Washington, DC. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute will also comment on the book and Sunstein's presentation of it. Details and registration info here.

I reviewed this interesting book here.

On August 4, 6:30-8:30 PM, I will take part in a panel on "The Politics of Star Trek," sponsored by the Reason Foundation, and the R Street Institute, also in Washington. The other panelists will be Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of Reason magazine, Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, and Nika Nour of the Entertainment Software Association. Details and registration info here.

I previously addressed the politics of Star Trek in this 2011 Institute for Humane Studies podcast, and in this 2007 article.

Carping critics may claim that it's frivolous to focus on the politics of science fiction at a time when we are facing so many difficult real-world issues. Perhaps so. But it's worth noting that fiction does have an impact on real-world politics, if only because far more people watch Star Wars and Star Trek movies and TV series than read serious nonfiction books and articles about political issues. Social science research shows that Harry Potter has influenced the political views of his fans. The same may well be true of Captain Kirk and Darth Vader. And even if not, at least they're less painful to watch than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.