View Single Post
Old December 23 2013, 07:35 PM   #8
Jarvisimo's Avatar
Re: Issues with current Enterprise E Bridge/senior officer staff

Christopher wrote: View Post
Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
Choudhory was good, especially in Destiny and I think Losing the Peace, but I must admit I was spoiled on her death so I don't know how I felt at that sudden execution. I think she was a stronger character than Šmrhová has been to date - but this may be because of the orientalism and distinguishing religious practices that subsumed/defined her character? I don't know.
The last thing I had in mind when developing Choudhury's character was "Orientalism." Orientalism means treating non-Western cultures as exotic, exaggerated Others, strange or sensual or barbaric or mystical but never in any way normative, always "them" rather than "us." Vina's Orion dance was Orientalism. The "Space Mongol" Klingons of TOS, the Capellans in "Friday's Child," the Argelians in "Wolf in the Fold," even the Ligonians in "Code of Honor" were stock Orientalist stereotypes thinly disguised as aliens. Jasminder Choudhury was, at least in my intentions, a fully realized character who was one of "us." I tried to give her a non-Western viewpoint to compensate for the perennial America-centrism of the Trek universe, but certainly not an Orientalist stereotype of one. On the contrary, Choudhury's faith was an informed, cosmopolitan one that was largely grounded in Hinduism but, like the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, was highly inclusive, open to ideas from faiths and philosophies originating throughout the known galaxy.
Yes, this might be the wrong word - at least I did not intend it with the full associations of how the word is construed in post-colonial or cultural studies. I was not meaning Orientalism with the full range of associations of that definition. Perhaps her 'non-Western origin and characterisation' would be more appropriate: in that, as you write, her spirituality is non-normative by Trek definitions - and indeed by western science fiction literary definitions - and required you to explain her spirituality for an audience unfamiliar in general with the cultures that inspired your creation of her. Therefore she represents somewhat still an Other to an audience, but is no longer an alienated or frightening Other. I certainly was not being critical of her, or your introduction of her (apologies for missing out GttS on my list), or the idea of a spiritualised non-Judaeo-Christian character in Trek. I rather appreciated it.
Jarvisimo is offline   Reply With Quote