'Star Trek' Course Offers Lessons on Society

By Jader, Gwen H. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

'Star Trek' Course Offers Lessons on Society


Jader, Gwen H., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Gwen H. Jader Daily Herald Correspondent

College of Lake County instructor John Tenuto will boldly go where no sociology professor has gone before when he captains "Sociology through 'Star Trek' " this spring.

The 16-week class will explore new concepts and theories using the popular science fiction television show as a reference.

"I've found that courses using special topics are an excellent way to cheat students into learning. Students in this kind of class tend to know everything about 'Star Trek,' and by the end of the class, they end up learning a lot about sociology, as well," Tenuto said.

"Star Trek" has reinvented itself through the years to reflect the times, and Tenuto will chart its history.

"During the '60s when the family was being challenged, none of the characters were married or had kids. During the '80s, however, when the nation returned to traditional family values, everybody, even Worf, had a family."

Worf is a Klingon, the barbarian, blood-lusting race created by Gene Roddenberry in the original Star Trek television series. Through the years, the Star Trek movies and television shows explored many themes, including environmentalism in "Star Trek IV."

"Ninety percent of my goal is to inspire the students to love sociology as much as they love 'Star Trek,'" Tenuto said.

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