PSCI 135
Politics after the Apocalypse Spring 2018 Division II;
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The zombies are coming! Climate change will destroy us! Bird-flu pandemic! To our horror and delight, reminders are everywhere that the end is near. Some of these projected apocalypses are alarmist, some fanciful…and others all too realistic. What shape will politics take after the apocalypse? What aspects of politics will endure the ravages of fire or pestilence? What new political realities might emerge on ground cleared by disaster? And what does it say about politics today that we are so eager to consume stories of states falling and bands of survivors scraping together a nasty, brutish and short existence? In this class, we reconsider what politics is and should be by contemplating accounts of its destruction and rebirth in television, film, literature, activism, social science, and critical theory. We will approach these sources as analogous to political theory’s classic thought experiment of the “state of nature” and social contract. And we will consider what it tells us about our time that we are so eager to imagine ourselves at the beginning of the end. Class will be driven primarily by discussion. Students will have significant responsibility for setting the agenda for discussions through informal writing submitted prior to class. Two papers, one close-reading assignment, and one post-apocalyptic short story or video are required.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 3576
Requirements/Evaluation: formal and informal writing assignments, including a "close reading" assignment of 3-5 pages, two 5- to 7-page papers, one short story (approximately 12-20 pages and including an explanatory cover letter), and class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses

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