19 January 2012

Towards a theology of Doctor Who?

James McGrath has issued a call for papers for a volume on Religion and Doctor Who: Time, Space, and Faith. According to his blog,
Doctor Who is a cultural phenomenon in both the UK and the United States, continuing to go from strength-to-strength as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2013. Over the show’s long history on television—and in various spin-off TV shows, audio adventures, novels and comic books—religion and religious themes have consistently been a subject of interest. In recent years the show has attracted everything from Church of England conferences dedicated to its use in preaching to guest appearances by Richard Dawkins. Abstracts of 300 words are therefore invited for a proposed edited collection examining Religion and Doctor Who. The collection will consider the subject in its widest sense, examining portrayals of religion on the show, in spin-off media (including TV, audio, internet, comic books and video games); fan cultures, and the use of Doctor Who in religious debates. The book will be aimed at popular-academic readership.
It strikes me that an interesting contribution to this collection would be a diachronic study of changing attitudes to religion as reflected in Doctor Who over the fifty years of its history. Does it show the same shift in attitudes that is clear in Star Trek (from the rationalism of the original series, through the warm fuzzy sentimental spirituality of The Next Generation to the more or less explicit New Age/postmodern spirituality of Deep Space Nine)? But someone else will have to write that paper. I just don’t have the time or inclination to wade through old episodes of a TV series I grew out of forty years ago.

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