Politics in an Apocalyptic World: Zombies, Aliens, and Killer Viruses

Course Code: POLS 220

Academic Year: 2023-2024

Why are we so entertained by the end of the world? Why do we line up to watch the spectacle of cities being destroyed in IMAX, play games that are set in post-apocalyptic environments, or read survival guides to help us ward off zombie attacks? Can movies and TV shows about zombies, aliens and killer viruses do more than entertain us? Can they actually make us think about the way we organize our societies and about who really has power in them? Using a variety of different philosophical and theoretical approaches, this course will explore how these pop-culture products about "the end of the world" help us to confront serious social and political issues. We will examine a number of issues, such as the origins of major social and political crises, the causes of cohesion and breakdowns in communities, the conflicts between "personal" and "public" interests and the damaging effects of social and economic inequality on the globalized world.