English 24

Freshman Seminar: Post-Apocalypse Now

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2017 Snyder, Katherine
Wed. 3-4 B40 Hearst Field Annex

Other Readings and Media

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Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories—are these really two different things?—have been told for centuries. But novels and movies that imagine the end of the world (and what comes after that) seem to have inundated us recently. In this course, we will read and view several particularly elegant 21st-century examples of this popular genre. We will ask: what does the imagined end of the world currently look like? What do the most common scenarios—ecological collapse, pandemic, zombies, angry robots—tell us about our own world? Why do we seem to have developed such a voracious appetite for narratives about our own obliteration and potential for regeneration? Will we find out before it's too late?

Possible novels: Margaret Alwood, Oryx and Crake (2003); Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006); Colson Whitehead, Zone One (2011)

Possible films: Children of Men (2006); WALL-E (2008); Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.

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