Zombies and Others: The Post-Apocalyptic Imagination
This class will explore “the post-apocalyptic imagination,” focusing primarily on secular imaginings of the end of the world as we know it from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. As we explore cultural representations of cataclysmic events that range from the outbreak of zoontological disease to environmental disaster to cybernetic revolt to nuclear war – and let’s not forget the zombie apocalypse! – we will explore a number of cultural anxieties engaged and expressed through these representations. In so doing, we will explore how the post-apocalyptic imagination is keyed to contemporary debates about climate change, genetic manipulation, terrorism, policing, and the list goes on. We will position cultural representations of the end of the world as a primary site for the production of difference – race, gender, sexuality, class, age, ability, species, and so forth – as well as the configuration of relations across lines of difference and between forms of difference. We will interrogate how the post-apocalyptic imagination can both endorse political apathy and foment political resistance. And finally, we will be sure to beef up our zombie apocalypse kits!