MEDIA, CULTURE, AND "THE END OF THE WORLD"

You still exist. Philadelphia is still here. The world did not end on December 21, 2012, the date of the alleged “Mayan prophecy.” Yet, doomsday scenarios still proliferate in our media and film culture.

Is there a better way to understand the end of the world than by viewing films and TV shows about the end of the world? Then reading some mind expanding essays and critiquing it all in class: what “the end” means and why that meme replicates in media, film, TV, culture, and science?

And all of this raises a profoundly serious question for media and cultural criticism: why does the end of the world meme keep replicating in our media saturated culture?

Read/download the syllabus: End of the World

Are these media apocalypses mere escapist entertainment or do these memes suggest deep reservations or disaffections about the state or destiny of the world: cultural, ecological, technological? Are we happy with the trajectories of the world? Are the films warnings about human hubris or merely pessimistic films about the future? Is the end of the world coming soon or do we have an optimistic, sustainable, long-term future? Designed to be fun, yet mind-expanding, this course will explore the many ways that media represent the end of the world, plausible and implausible!