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Honoursmodule: Apocalypse

In the popular imagination, the end of the world usually comes with a bang. A meteorite comes crashing, a solar flare wipes out all technology, the robots take over, zombies eat us all.

But what if things end with less of a bang, like the sixth mass extinction that is currently going on? Does our apocalyptic imagination help us to see things more clearly – its literal meaning being “revelation” – or does our thinking of the end as an all-or-nothing event cloud our vision and judgement? 

It is argued that when we have the Apocalypse on our minds, we indulge in “pessimism porn” or “collapse porn” and in doing so keeping doom at a safe distance. If anything, our thinking about the end of things, of times, of the world is a way of dealing with mortality and ephemerality, which we tend to avoid.  

In this course, we will distinguish the biblical notion of Apocalypse from secular notions such as collapse, catastrophe and extinction, both asking what they share and where they divert. We will take a multidisciplinary approach and among others explore the political implications of apocalyptic thought (such as fear-mongering) and its psychological implications (such as dealing with anxiety, fear and apathy), also relating it to similar states of mind such as pessimism and melancholy.

We will also ask what apocalyptic thought tells us about our times and our culture, and explore how it is related to dreams of progress and to utopian and dystopian thought. Where we will end up? The apocalypse keeps us guessing, that’s for sure.   


We now expect that all lectures can take place on-campus. In case the situation changes, you will be notified. You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Registration is possible for 2nd year (or higher) students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on November 29, 10 am -  December 6, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS. (registration is NOT through SIS or GLASS).

Please note: There is no guarantee for placement if you register after 6 December, so make sure you register on time. You will hear which course(s) you are registered for before 20 december. For questions about registration, please contact us at Honours-iis@uva.nl.

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