Could you tell us what you would do with Julian's character if you could write for him? How do you think his race and British history would effect him? Or how he views himself and the other masculine characters around him? I've only made it to season 4, but I can see what you're talking about and its really interesting! Just plz talk more about this
ahh this is kind of a big question - part of the issue is that star trek is set in a future where, ostensibly, humanity has abolished institutional racism, which makes it interesting when you have characters like julian, who are living in this utopic future but being viewed and understood by us, people who are decidedly not living in utopia. i say this because i do think it's a fine line to tread between writing characters of color without any cultural quirks or markers vs writing characters of color who are hyper-defined by their race and culture. i wouldn't want, say, a julian bashir who's still experiencing the same level and type of post-colonial angst and trauma that people like i am lol, that's just not fun.
so i think the challenge is to imagine what a future for brown british identity might look like once institutional racism is no longer is a thing, and that's where it gets tricky, and where star trek begins to contradict itself a little. so for example, the "eugenics wars" featuring the infamous khan singh character were supposedly largely concentrated in the "third world" ????? what does that meeeean!!! there's so much to unpack there!!! i don't think trek writers themselves really know what race and identity look like in the future for human beings, so they just put these characters in a futuristic setting and write them as if their race no longer impacts them - and don't get me wrong there's a definite benefit to this approach - but with a character like julian you can tell they were struggling to nail down what made him tick. so i would personally delve into star trek's own history, and extrapolate from there. with julian's character, the ties between the eugenics wars and the third world is simply a gold mind of possibility.
personally, i also think a lot would have been solved by having julian be canonically queer. there are a lot of orientalist stereotypes about hyper-sexual, hedonistic, feminized brown men in our current world - so what would it mean if, in this ostensibly utopic future, a brown man could just be be queer and indulgent and refined, while also being respected and admired by his colleagues? also, bring in some of julian's arabic/african cultural ancestry - showing us how he struggles with those things because he's distanced himself from his parents. maybe he struggles with his identity because of the shadow of the eugenics wars, knowing he has family from that part of the world. and despite being queer, julian could struggle with that too - worrying about getting too close to people and revealing his augment status. maybe in the 24th century those orientalist stereotypes are applied to people who are augments, because of the perceived conflation between augments and the third world.
i would have liked to see more of his relationship with his parents. i got the sense he was closer to his mom and had a lot of shame and resentment towards his dad - that's another way we can see his relationship to masculinity being complicated. i would have loved an episode where julian spends time with his mum and they bond over research and books and she gives him motherly advice about his love-life. he has such mama's boy vibes and i wish we had seen that explored in canon. maybe his mother had family who were involved in the eugenics wars? and it's a sore subject between them?
also, personally, i think julian is a bit vain. he would have to be, being so beautiful and also enhanced. but then there's that shadow of shame caused by his status and the history of the eugenics wars - so maybe he feels guilty for enjoying his beauty. i think it would have been really interesting if, from a garashir perspective, one of the obstacles was julian's vanity and commitment to appearances. he has this carefully crafted self-image that would absolutely shatter if he were to openly desire someone like garak, who's considered plain and even a little unattractive by cardassian standards, not to mention his shady past and general air of perversion especially in the earlier seasons.
basically, exploring how julian constantly labors to create a particular image of cultivated, urbane british masculinity to gloss over his internalized shame about being enhanced and having family connections to the third world, and then charting how that image breaks down when he's confronted by, say, his desire and love for someone like garak, or by friends who see past his affectations, or by his augment status being revealed: would he re-entrench himself in that false image, or will he have the courage to shed that facade and be himself without shame or guilt or regret, while also acknowledging where he came from and what history he's unwittingly tied to? that, imho, is one way we could translate post-colonial anguish into a context like star trek
hope this answers some of what you're asking! and please feel free to jump in my inbox with julian/ ds9 thoughts!
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