Apocalypse Now

Course Description

This course is all about the end of the world: we'll investigate why so many people have tried (and failed) to predict it, analyze how "end-of-the-world' thinking informs Western politics and culture, and explore how historically marginalized artists and writers have used the idea of the apocalypse to imagine radically different futures.

Classes will be discussion-based and use a multimedia-based approach to "readings," which will include fiction, theory, film, and visual art. You will be asked to engage artists and thinkers who define and redefine apocalypse, including writing by Rebecca Solnit and William Yeats; art by Hugo Ball, Zoe Leonard, Wangechi Mutu, and Nirvana; and documentary films by Afriel Efraim Ashbel and Cauleen Smith. Class discussions will illuminate conversations between seemingly disparate texts and challenge students to explore deeper questions of history and identity: Who has the authority to declare that the world has "ended"? How should the stories of new worlds be told? What can the histories of Black and Indigenous peoples tell us about the problems with popular definitions of 'apocalypse'? And how are apocalyptic art and imagery used to shape political and cultural discourse?

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

• Apply close-reading strategies to a variety of texts.
• Analyze the apocalyptic stories of different faith traditions.
• Evaluate the extent to which ideas of the apocalypse influence Western thought, art, and politics.
• Engage in rigorous and respectful conversations with their peers.
• Identify how historically marginalized peoples have used the idea of the apocalypse to imagine radically different futures.


You should have interest in investigating ideas of race, gender and identity. You should also have a desire to engage in group learning and student-led discussions.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 15, 2022
Duration: 3 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Lanre Akinsiku
Course Number: 10116