It‘s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)*
It‘s 2012 and film makers, authors, the yellow press, and the Latin American tourism industry, to name but a few, are capitalizing on the purported end of the world, which the Mayan calendar supposedly predicted for December 21 of this year. Whether or not doomsday is near, it seems like an appropriate time to investigate the theme of apocalypse in literature and film. The end of the world has been predicted and imagined over and over again in religious and later secular texts. In this course we will read texts and watch movies inventing apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic scenarios from different time periods and different national and cultural backgrounds. Accompanying the texts and films we will also trace the theme in painting. Questions encountered along the way include why artists keep imagining the end of the world and what visions of apocalypse tell us about the era they were created in. Whether nuclear catastrophe, giant ants, meteors on a collision course with earth, or environmental disaster, apocalyptic scenarios reflect the social and political climate – and fears – of their time. On a practical front, students will learn how to critically analyze and write about texts and films from different genres and sources. Emphasis will be placed on improving interpretive and academic writing skills through discussions about texts, writing exercises, and peer editing workshops. In discussions about the materials we will experiment with different comparative approaches to literary and filmic analysis. Small creative assignments and free writing sessions will allow us to approach the topic from different angles.
*REM It‘s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)