The Star Trek Arrowhead Paradox: The Power of Folkloric Knowledge in Popular Culture

John E. Price (Independent Folklorist)

The Star Trek franchise has long been known for its rich and expansive fan culture. From nearly the show’s inception, the fan community has been an integral part of defining and cultivating the symbols and meanings behind the episodes and movies. This paper examines one such instance where a single line of dialogue spurred nearly fifty years of fan consensus as to the meaning of the “Enterprise Arrowhead.” Recently, the appearance of a long lost internal memo threatened that consensus, causing a rift in a previously unified fan belief. This division over authority and power serves as an eloquent case study for the role of folkloric knowledge in popular culture.

Part of 07-06 Reading Popular Culture Through Folklore, Saturday, November 04, 8:30 am–10:00 am