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How to Navigate the Apocalypse

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Duration Online
Tutor Dr Michelle Deininger
Course code MED20A5375A
Fee £225
Concessionary fee £180 (find out about eligibility and funding options)

The end of the world has a long and healthy history. In this module, we will trace the development of (post) apocalyptic texts in the Western tradition, from its earliest beginnings in antiquity and Biblical narrative, to its rise in popularity during the modern era.

You will be prepped with an understanding of cultural and historical contexts, and attain access to a stockpile of essential critical resources. It will aid the development of a host of academic survival skills, from formulating a convincing argument to enhanced critical analysis.

Taking account of an eclectic range of texts that encompass film, television, and literature, this module will explore how stories about the end of the world challenge assumptions about who we are, where we are from, and where we might be going. Assuming, that is, we are all still able to attend.

This module can be studied as part of the Inside Narratives Pathway, Pathway to a degree in Media, Journalism and Culture,  or on a standalone basis.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through nine two-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to you via Learning Central.

  • Week 1 — Beginning of the End
  • Week 2 — After the War: Samuel Beckett, Endgame
  • Week 3 — The Atomic Age: Richard Matheson, I Am Legend
  • Week 4 — Civil Breakdown: Dawn of the Dead (dir. George Romero, 1978)
  • Week 5 — Plague: Stephen King’s The Stand (ABC, 1994)
  • Week 6 — Flood: Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
  • Week 7 — Post-9/11 (1): Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • Week 8 — Post-9/11 (2): The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010)
  • Week 9 — Aftermaths: The Leftovers (HBO, 2014)

Primary texts listed here are indicative, and may be changed.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You can opt to complete two short writing tasks (textual analysis and an essay) or a broader portfolio of writing (which may take the form of short critiques of the texts, reviews, short analyses of critical theories, creative writing and any other appropriate elements.)

Reading suggestions

You may like to explore some of the following texts before the module begins. However, the tutor will provide a full reading list at the start of the course.

  • Andrew Tate, Apocalyptic Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • Roger Luckhurst, The Trauma Question (Routledge, 2008)
  • Roger Luckhurst, Zombies: A Cultural History (Reaktion Books, 2015)
  • Fred Botting, Gothic (Routledge, 2014)
  • Kim Newman, Nightmare movies: horror on screen since the 1960s (Bloomsbury, 2011)
  • Stacy Abbott, Undead Apocalypse: Vampires and Zombies in the 21st Century (Edinburgh University Press, 2016)
  • Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (Columbia University Press, 1982)
  • Christine Cornea, Science fiction cinema: between fantasy and reality (Rutgers University Press, 2007)
  • David J Leigh, Apocalyptic patterns in twentieth-century fiction (University of Notre Dame Press, 2008)
  • Theo van Leeuwen and Carey Jewitt, eds. Handbook of Visual Analysis (Sage: 2006)
  • James Monaco, How To Read a Film: The Art, Technology, Language, History and Theory of Film and Media (Oxford Press: 2009)
  • Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film,(Pearson: 2012).
  • Rick Altman, Film/Genre. (BFI: 1999)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.


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