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GEOG 2N - Apocalyptic Geographies

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


This course explores various visions of the apocalypse and their relevance for addressing major contemporary social, ecological, and economic issues. These issues include global climate change, nuclear war, the growing refugee crisis, the breakdown of democratic governance, economic recession and forms of everyday violence and social fracture. Students will develop and employ critical and analytical thinking skills to engage a diversity of texts from the humanities (e.g., historical and literary accounts, graphic novels, films and other historical and contemporary media) and contemporary popular culture in order to situate these apocalyptic visions in particular historical, cultural, and political contexts. Students will utilize integrative thinking skills and an interdisciplinary geographic approach to connect these visions with contemporary social issues in order to consider how we might address these complex problems while imagining and actualizing alternative futures. Students will practice global learning, drawing on course material that engages U.S. and cross-cultural perspectives in recognition of the global reach of the interconnected social, economic, political, and cultural systems that shape humanity's shared fate.


Students who excel in this course are able to:

  • Interpret, discuss and compare texts and arguments in the social sciences and humanities, as evidenced through well-organized and clearly articulated verbal and written arguments;
  • Analyze different cultural contexts, in the U.S. and abroad in a variety of textual materials, such as academic readings, film, novels, newspaper articles and art;
  • Evaluate specific contemporary social issues, their causes, effects, and possible outcomes.

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

  • Video game: This War of Mine.
  • License for Packback to be used as a course discussion tool. We will use this tool for written engagement in the course every week, and it will account for a large portion of your grade.
  • Access to the Black Mirror episode, "Nosedive." 
  • Access to the film Princess Mononoke (1997).


This is an introductory course with no prerequisites.


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 12 hours per week on classwork.

Major Assignments

  • 15 Weekly written discussion assignments. Each discussion assignment is worth 3% of your grade. Only the top ten out of fifteen scores will be counted towards your final grade, so you may miss or do poorly on five out of fifteen assignments without penalty. 
  • 3 Exams (automated/online, non-cumulative, multiple choice, each assignment is worth 15% of your grade) on lessons and reading assignments. The lowest of the three exam scores is dropped. Each exam is worth 15% of your grade and allows you to practice your mastery of the concepts presented in the course readings and supporting material. 
  • 2 Written assignments (each assignment is worth 15% of your grade) provide you with an opportunity to synthesize the course concepts and supporting information you've learned in the class. These assignments will allow you to communicate your understanding of the material, demonstrate your critical thinking skills, and showcase your ability to analyze information.
  • Final Futurism project (10% of your grade) in which you will draw on your own identity and ancestry and reflect on the apocalypses covered in the course to create your own kind of futurism. This project can take three forms: a one-page, single-spaced short story, an art project along with a 250-word description, or a photo essay along with a 500-word description.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
11What is an Apocalypse?
  • Participate in the discussion forum
12Ethics in the Apocalypse
  • Participate in the discussion forum
13High-Tech Future: Dystopias or Utopias?
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Begin Essay #1
25Sovereignty, Territoriality, and the Other
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Complete Essay #1
26The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Take Exam #1
37Economic Collapse and Zombies
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Begin Essay #2
38Zombies and Crisis
  • Participate in the discussion forum
39Beyond Capitalism
  • Participate in the discussion forum
410Welcome to the Anthropocene
  • Participate in the discussion forum
411Contagion and Adaptation
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Take Exam #2
412Environmental Destruction and Care
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Complete Essay #2
513Contemporary Origins of Futurism
  • Participate in the discussion forum
514Futurisms and Necropolitics
  • Participate in the discussion forum
515Haitian Cultural Resistance
  • Participate in the discussion forum
  • Exam #3
  • Futurisms Project