Series:

Sonja Neef

Abstract

This article investigates the concepts of cosmopolitanism and hospitality in the TV series Star Trek Enterprise: The Fifth Generation. In the Enlightened political philosophy of the West, hospitality has been defined as a “universal” law on which “cosmopolitanism” is based (Kant). The aim of this article is to question the ideas of “universality” and “cosmopolitanism” by studying them in a sci-fi space narrative and bringing them back to the astronomical context they are derived from. In the first episode of The Fifth Generation, Broken Bow, the encounter of host and guest at first sight takes the shape of a stereotypical cultural clash between a Western actor who is a priori conceived as “subject,” i.e. the one mastering the visual and linguistic protocol of the encounter on the one hand, and on the other hand, the wild and speechless other, or “alien.” The complex and paradoxical structure of hospitality, as described in great detail by Jacques Derrida, however, remains not at all naive or cursory in Broken Bow. Through detailed analyses of two scenes, this article demonstrates the self-reflexive attitude of the television show. One case focuses on camera work and the rhetoric of the visual in film-making, the other on the diegetic technical device of the “universal translator.” In the end, the television, as a media technology of space travelling, turns out to function itself as a universal translator: a medium to produce the “cosmopolitical” as a possibility and an impossibility at the same time.

A Few Thoughts on Reading

Replik auf Arnon Grünberg

Series:

Sonja A. J. Neef

Series:

Sonja A . J. Neef and Henry Sussman

Astroculture

Figurations of Cosmology in Media and Arts

Series:

Edited by Henry Sussman, Martin Neef, Sonja A. J. Neef, Henri Sussman and Dietrich Boschung

Astroculture is a testament to the literary imagination and theoretical innovation of the late Sonja A.J. Neef, who devised the term as an expanding horizon of collaborative research into the powerful gravitational force exerted on culture by astronomical phenomena and imagery. It is also the name of a conference on the topic inspired by Neef and held at the Center for Advanced Studies Morphomata at the University of Cologne in November, 2011. Indeed, Astroculture is a perfect instance of a morphome, the overall target of the Cologne College’s ongoing symposia: a persistent trope or topos of cultural fascination and transcription appearing across a gamut of civilizations and historical periods. Commentary in this volume ranges from Claudius Ptolemy’s mapping of the universe and the emergence of a pluralistic cosmology in seventeenth-century Europe to the spread of planetariums, the Whole Earth Catalog, and the contemporary artwork of Ingo Günter. With interventions by David Aubin, Lucía Ayala, Monika Bernold, Dietrich Boschung, Bruce Clarke, Gerd Graßhof, Hans-Christian von Hermann, Martina Leeker, Patricia Pisters, and Henry Sussman.

Series:

Sonja A. J. Neef, Henri Sussman and Dietrich Boschung

Series:

Sonja A. J. Neef, Henri Sussman and Dietrich Boschung

Series:

Sonja A. J. Neef, Henri Sussman and Dietrich Boschung