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 the oceans rise;
hurricanes and tornados of unprecedented intensity will become the norm; earthquakes, tsunamis, floods will sweep the earth. For those
unmoved by the inevitable consequences of the greenhouse effect, there are other apocalypses from which to choose: a global plague set off either by super viruses or bio-terrorism; a 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; a nuclear war; a civil war between Red and Blue states triggered by a presidential tweet storm.
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. The curriculum is made up of a range of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels, short stories, movies, sermons, and radio shows. The goal of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to consider the significance of the human predilection for telling stories about the end of humanity.
This is a reading-intensive course. There are quizzes at the beginning of every class (80% of the grade. There are mandatory weekly discussion sections, also. In this course, humanistic work is participatory and engaged (20% of your final grade rests on in-lecture participation and discussion section participation). Enroll if you want to work hard and if you're committed to attending every class. (In a typical semester, 20% of the original registrants drop out or fail out.)
Students from all schools and disciplines are welcome to sign up for this 4-credit 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].
Novels taught in past versions of this course include: Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Moore's Watchmen, and Shamsie's Burnt Shadows. Films studied in past versions of the course include: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Graveyard of the Fireflies, Rosemary's Baby, and The Big Short.
Please note: there are two lectures and a break-out discussion group each week. When you register, you will register both for the lectures and for a break-out section.