Today’s episode is about the television show, Star Trek: Discovery. Guests Andrew Pulrang and Day Al-Mohamed join Alice in a conversation about disability representation in Star Trek: Discovery, what we hope to see the from the show in the future, and why science fiction is political. This show is available online on CBS All Access with new episodes returning on January 7, 2018.
If you’re not into science fiction, give this a listen and consider exploring the Star Trek universe. Spoiler alert: we will discuss characters and plot points from the first nine episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.
Jusino, Teresa. (October 2, 2017). Did Star Trek: Discovery Just Introduce a Recurring Character on the Autism Spectrum? TheMarySue.com
smith, s.e. (September 7, 2016). Set Phasers to Inclusion: Disabled Trekkies Talk Star Trek. Bitch Media
Martinelli, Marissa. (July 26, 2016). Star Trek Was Among the Best Franchises at Representing People With Disabilities—Until Star Trek Beyond. Slate.com
Day Al-Mohamed is an author, filmmaker, and political analyst. She is author of the novel Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale, editor of the anthology, Trust & Treachery, and a regular host on Idobi Radio’s Geek Girl Riot. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts.
Her current focus is on a Civil War documentary on the Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens about group of soldiers with disabilities who saved President Lincoln from a surprise Confederate raid.
A disability policy executive with more than fifteen years of experience, she presents often on the representation of disability in media, most recently for the National Bar Association, at New York Comic Con, and at SXSW. She lives in Washington DC with her wife, N.R. Brown. You can find her online at DayAlMohamed.com and on Twitter @DayAlMohamed
My name is Andrew Pulrang. I was born in 1967, in Plattsburgh, New York, a small city in Northeastern New York, on Lake Champlain, and an hour’s drive south of Montreal, Quebec.
I lived in Plattsburgh until 1980, when my parents moved us to Tumwater, Washington. I attended Tumwater High School, where I graduated in 1985.
Later that summer I had a health crisis, which led to my starting to use a ventilator to breathe at night, which I have done ever since. A few days after having a tracheostomy tube installed so I could use the ventilator, I started Freshman Year classes at Dartmouth College. I graduated in 1989 with a major in History. Literally not knowing what to do next, I enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Rhetoric and Communication Studies at the University of Virginia. After always avoiding involvement in disability issues, I ended up doing my Master’s Thesis comparing depictions of disability in television and movies.
During the summer between my two years at UVA, I did an internship at the North Country Center for Independence, a Center for Independent Living in Plattsburgh, which had started about a year before. Finding a disability organization that wasn’t begging for medical research funds with sad pictures of disabled kids was a revelation to me. I stuck with the Center, and the Center eventually stuck with me, as I became the Executive Director in 1998. I continued in that position until I stepped down in 2012. I still do some consulting and grant-writing work with the North Country Center for Independence. I am also a part-time writing tutor at Clinton Community College. I have a blog called Disability Thinking, and I am co-organizer of #CripTheVote.
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Alice Wong, Writer, Producer, Interviewer, Audio Producer
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off”
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
“Teleporter” by blendcache on Freesound.org. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
“Sci Fi Growl Scream A” by TheNeedle.tv on Freesound.org. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.