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ENG 380 The Apocalypse and Everything After (S.Early): Home

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Approach of the Apocalypse

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Course Description

How will the world end? An asteroid hurtles through space on a collision course with Earth. The polar icecaps melt and !ood everything. Aliens invade the planet. The atmosphere becomes toxic. Zombies destroy all life. Artificial intelligence takes over world. When consuming literature and popular media, you can choose your own end-of-the-world adventure from a seemingly endless supply of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories. If you prefer nonfiction, there are any number of religious options to suit your personal take on an impending Armageddon. Or you can dig into astrophysics and climate science to fund other predictions for how this planet's story ends. Why is it that we are so obsessed with the end of the world? What is it about the apocalypse that draws us in and keeps us coming back for more with every new iteration? What does it say about our fears, our hopes, our relationship to the planet we live on, our relationship to the divine? What can it tell us about ourselves as a species and as individuals? What even counts as "apocalyptic," and is that definition the same for everyone? In this class, we'll explore literary texts that deal with the end of the world and what happens next. We'll discuss what the end of the world means in different contexts and how the apocalypse trope is deployed in various genres, including fantasy, satire, science fiction, magical realism, and more. Through the literature we read this semester, we will journey together toward a deeper understanding of what "apocalypse" means and how it impacts the way we live on a daily basis.

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