English R1A

Reading & Composition: Apocalypse / Now

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2012 Cullen, Ben
MWF 10-11 222 Wheeler

Book List

Malthus, T: On the Principle of Population; McCarthy, C.: The Road; Mitchell, D.: Cloud Atlas; Placencia, S.: The People of Paper; Vaughn, B. & P.Y. Guerra: Y: The Last Man (Cycles); Vaughn, B. & P.Y. Guerra: Y: The Last Man (Unmanned); Wells, H.G. : War of the Worlds ;

Recommended: Grahame-Smith , S.: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Silverstein, S. : The Giving Tree

Other Readings and Media

A small reader.

We will also be viewing the following films—sometimes in, sometimes out of class: Children of Men, Cloverfield, An Inconvenient Truth. I will do my best to give screenings of all.


The stolen title of this course perfectly captures the two topics this class will explore. The first is "nowness," or what it is to live in our time; the second is the notion of apocalypse—perhaps better understood as the unmaking of nation, of civilization, of humanity, of the world, even of the universe as we know it.  We will be looking for figures, symbols, tropes and technics of apocalyptic imaginings, and while we will primarily focus on apocalypse's influence on various forms of narrative fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries, we will also be looking at real-world discussions of possible dooms. Ultimately, our goals will be to question what it is about humanity's end that so thrills and sparks the West's (if not the globe's) imagination, what we see about society and civilization in meditating its catastrophic destruction, and what consequences (psychological, emotional, political) the notion of an impending real-world apocalypse might have on national/global culture.

You will be responsible for writing four papers, as well as weekly reading responses.  

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