FT 011-L Walking the Wasteland: Humanity and Civilization in a Post-Apocalyptic World
William Oprisko, Associate Dean of Students
It’s the end of the world and you are one of the few people left on the planet. Modern civilization with all of its benefits has been wiped away leaving behind only a bleak hope for existence. The source responsible for this cataclysmic event remains a mystery, but its affects are ever present before your eyes. From what you can tell, everyone you ever knew or loved is gone and there is no one else around. Surrounded by a desolate world, you are left with figuring out what to do next.
This course will explore what it would be like to live in a world devastated by plague, biological disaster, or nuclear war. In addition to examining prevalent themes of post-apocalyptic fiction, specific attention will be given to analyzing morality and human nature within a catastrophic environment. Students will read several short stories and novels depicting a variety of doomsday scenarios as well as different human responses to surviving the apocalypse. The readings will be supplemented with a series of movies selected to expand the motifs touched upon in the texts. Course assignments will primarily consist of reflective essays and journal entries. The final project will involve students taking on the perspective of person living in a ruined world by playing Fallout 3 and presenting their experience to the class.
Prior to their arrival on campus, students will read Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Other books selected for this course will include, The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr., and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Lastly, a few of the movies students will watch are Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), 12 Monkeys (1995), and Last Night (1998).