The Star-Trek Borg as an all-American captivity narrative

Title: The Star-Trek Borg as an all-American captivity narrative
Author: Tindol, Robert
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2012, vol. 38, iss. 1, pp. [151]-158
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The Borg are half-human/half-robot beings that have appeared in various film and television versions of Star Trek since first created in the 1980s for the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mindless automatons whose only purpose is to turn as many other humanoids into Borgs as possible, the Borg may superficially appear to be a metaphor for world Communism as it was metaphorically represented in Westerns and science fiction from the 1950s onward. However, the Cold War has long since ended and the Borg are as popular as ever in the Star-Trek franchise. This is because they are a modern manifestation of the 400-year-old American captivity narrative – the first distinct literary genre created in the New World. Rather than a metaphoric iteration of the Communist threat, the Borg instead represent the age-old American paranoia of being held in thrall by an Other who would drag Americans where they do not wish to be dragged.
[1] Brooks, Peter (1984) Reading for the Plot. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

[2] Derounian, Kathryn Zabelle (1988) 'The Publication, Promotion, and Distribution of Mary Rowlandson's Indian Captivity Narrative in the Seventeenth Century.' Early American Literature 23 (3), 239–261.

[3] Haraway, Donna (1991) 'A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.' In: Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 149–181.

[4] Lacan, Jacques (2001) 'The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.' In: Ecrits: A Selection. London: Routledge, 1–8.

[5] Mirzoeff, Nicholas (1999) 'First Contact: From Independence Day to 1492 and Millennium.' In: Mirzoeff, Nicholas (ed.) An Introduction to Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 193–227.

[6] Rowlandson, Mary (1682) The Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Accessed on: 22 May, 2008.

[7] Slotkin, Richard (1973) Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier 1600-1860. Middletown: Wesleyan.

[8] "Star Trek: First Contact." Chrissie's Transcripts Site, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

[9] Star Trek: First Contact. Dir. Jonathan Frakes. Paramount, 1996. Film.

[10] "The Best of Both Worlds Part 1-2." //Star Trek: The Next Generation//. Paramount Television. 18 June 1990 and 24 Sept. 1990.

[11] Tindol, Robert (2009) 'Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher in the Cave: An Anti-Captivity Narrative?' The Mark Twain Annual 7 (1), 118-126. | DOI 10.1111/j.1756-2597.2009.00021.x