The focus of this course would be to explore the concept of apocalypse through the examination of prophecy (biblical, year 2000, Maya 12/21/12 scare, etc), the consideration of other parapsychological phenomena (and the psychology of belief) and real, hypothetical and imaginary apocalypitic threats from nuclear warfare (with ties to physics, chemistry, biology and environmental science), biological warfare and terrorism, threats from space (an astronomy connection), biology of zombies and parasitic mind-control, population biology, overpopulation and population crash (Malthus, Darwin, Social Darwinism, etc), nanotechnology, artificial intelligence (compscie and engineering), etc.  There is a lot of potential for interdisciplinary connections with Philosophy and Religious Studies, English, History, Art, Mathematics.

 

Useful links:

The Edge (online magazine discussing intellectual topics--including some about threats to modern humanity)  https://www.edge.org

The Long Now Foundation (Foundation encouraging thinking about long-term issues):  http://longnow.org/

"Things Fall Apart" exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (museum exhibit discussing the decay of manmade objects:  https://www.chemheritage.org/things-fall-apart

Digitized video of nuclear detonations and impacts (Youtube)

Wikipedia:

Threats to human existence:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_extinction

Global catastrophic risk:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_catastrophic_risk#Ecological_disaster

Technological

Nuclear holocaust:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_holocaust

Nanotechnology:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo

Advanced artificial intelligence:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_risk_from_artificial_general_intelligence

Biological

Biological Warfare:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_warfare

Bioterrorism:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioterrorism

Pandemic:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic

Biotechnology:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotechnology_risk

Ecological

Overpopulation:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_overpopulation

Global Climate Change:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming

Runaway Climate Change:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_climate_change

Environmental Disaster:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_disaster

Zombies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie#Zombie_apocalypse

The Serpent and the Rainbow:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Serpent_and_the_Rainbow_(book)

Brain altering parasitic infection:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior-altering_parasite_or_parasitoid

Toxoplasmosis:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasma gondii:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasma_gondii

Eschatology:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology

Apocalyptism:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypticism

Mayan Apocaplypse (2012):  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayan_apocalypse

Islamic:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology

Hindu:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_eschatology

Jewish:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_eschatology

Christian:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_eschatology

Four Horseman:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Apocalypse

Buddhist:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_eschatology

Taoist:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Hong_(Taoist_eschatology)

Zoroastrian:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frashokereti

Apocalypse:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse

List of predicted dates of apocalyptic events:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events