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What shape will politics take after the apocalypse? Even before the coronavirus pandemic gave us reason to wonder if we are, in fact, living through an apocalypse, speculation about the end of the world and its aftermath pervaded recent television, movies, literature, philosophy, and critical theory. In this class we draw these works into conversation with political theories of the “state of nature” and “state of exception” to better understand what political possibilities are opened and foreclosed in times of crisis. What aspects of politics will endure the ravages of fire or pestilence? What new political realities might emerge on ground cleared by disaster? What does it say about pre-pandemic politics that we were so eager to consume stories of states falling and bands of survivors scraping together a nasty, brutish and short existence? And how will the unfolding pandemic change how we respond to these stories? Class will be driven primarily by discussion, typically introduced by a brief lecture.
Format: seminar; Class meetings will be conducted remotely using zoom.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
two 3-5 page papers, one short story (7-15 pages and including an explanatory cover letter), contributions to a class project documenting and analyzing the pandemic, and class participation
first- or second-year students, or permission of instructor
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI Political Theory Courses