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More Than "Just Uhura": Understanding Star Trek's Lt. Uhura, Civil Rights, and Space History

  • Dwight Performing Arts Center 100 State Street Framingham, MA, 01702 United States (map)

Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

Dr. Weitekamp invites us to explore the impact of Lt. Uhura on American culture and society. Introduced in Gene Roddenberry's original television program in 1966, Lt. Uhura is arguably the most historically significant character of the Star Trek franchise. As a woman of color depicted in popular culture, in a period of tremendous change for African Americans and women in the United States, she both evoked and played against the contemporary historical context.

Facilitated by: Robert Johnson and Dr. Ishara Mills-Henry
Sponsored by: Framingham State University Arts & Ideas Program
Air and Space Curator Margaret Weitekamp Explains Why Star Trek Matters & Additional Resources
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Dr. Margaret Weitekamp is a curator in the Space History Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. Weitekamp curates the museum's social and cultural dimensions of spaceflight collection, which includes more than 4,000 artifacts of space memorabilia and space science fiction objects. Weitekamp earned a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. During her graduate work, she was a Mellon fellow in the humanities and spent a year in residence at the NASA Headquarters History Office in Washington, D.C. as the American Historical Association / NASA Aerospace History Fellow. Her book, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004; paperback 2006), won the 2004 Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature from the American Astronautical Society.

Robert Johnson is a professor in the Communication Arts Department at Framingham State University. He is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, received a Fulbright Specialists Grant to teach documentary filmmaking in Rwanda, and served as an expert for the State Department’s cultural diplomacy program "American Documentary Showcase." He has exhibited video art, photography, and paintings at many galleries and art centers, and is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award for “Excellence in Scholarship/Creative Activity.”

Dr. Ishara Mills-Henry is an assistant professor in the Chemistry and Food Science Department at Framingham State University. Her research focuses on the stability and aggregation of the eye lens crystallin proteins as it relates to cataract formation