Spring 2016 Undergraduate English Courses: Special Topics
358:205 The Coming Apocalypse
The Coming Apocalypse
It's boom time for the End Times. Millennialists state with confidence that the world's final hour is approaching: the signs are everywhere, for those who know how to see them. Scientists warn that our planet is warming dangerously: in your lifetime, you will see oceans rise; hurricanes and tornados of unprecedented intensity will become the norm; earthquakes, tsumanis, floods will sweep the earth. For those
unmoved by such threats, there are other apocalypses from which to choose: a global plague set off either by super viruses or bio-terrorism; population explosion followed by famine and a primeval struggle for basic resources; a dirty bomb; global economic collapse; colonization by extraterrestrials; the earth's collision with a massive comet; the spread of zombies; the upcoming presidential election.
Every ending also heralds a new beginning, though; every apocalypse gives way to a post-apocalypse. In this large format,discussion- driven course, we will spend the semester learning about how narrative works. By focusing on a range of apocalyptic andpost-apocalyptic novels, short stories, movies, and television shows, this course aims to provide students with the opportunity to consider the significance of the human predilection for telling stories about the end of humanity.
Students from all schools and disciplines are welcome to sign up for this 4-creidt course. The course carries credit toward the major and minor in English.
The Coming Apocalypse can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C] and Arts and
Humanities [AHp]. This course will be conducted in a way that blends lecture and discussion. The mode of assessment is perpetual: 10-minute quizzes at the beginning of every class (60% of the grade), extended reflexive quizzes (20%), and class participation (20% of the grade).
Novels taught in past versions of this course include: Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, James' Children of Men, McCarthy's The Road, and Kamsie's Burnt Shadows. Films studied in past versions of the course include: Apocalypto, Apocalypse Now!, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Grave of the Fireflies, and 28 Days Later.