The question that this course’s texts will think about is none other than what happens when the world ends. This seminar will delve (without fear) into a diverse selection of contemporary narratives of apocalypse, dystopia, and doomsday scenarios. We'll use these texts to address questions like:
- How do narratives of apocalypse and post-apocalypse help us better understand our present cultural moment?
- Are we in some ways culturally obsessed with end-of-the-world anxieties? And if so, why? Have we become more interested in these topics recently?
- How do these stories engage or criticize traditional concepts of good and evil? Are apocalyptic texts inherently “moral”?
- To what extent (if any) do stories of fear and destruction perhaps paradoxically offer readers hope?
Texts will likely include novels and short stories by Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Orson Scott Card, and others.
Students should expect to participate in avid, daily conversation, write 2-3 analytical papers, craft a creative in-class presentation, and complete a final written exam.