Apocalyptic Fiction and Cultural Fear: Using Sci-Fi Historically

Apocalyptic fiction is more relevant than ever in the era of looming climate catastrophe, viral pandemics, and the omnipresence of surveillance technology. From fears of nuclear war to biological terrorism and environmental collapse, pressing historical fears have shaped dystopian and post-apocalyptic narratives from the 1950s to today. Why are we fascinated by the depiction of the end of civilization(s)? What can thinking historically about science fiction tell us about the past, as well as the future? This seminar will discuss how to think about apocalyptic science fiction as a historically inflected sub-genre--as well as an exciting read.