Collins Living Learning Center | Fear of an Atomic Planet
L210 | 30037 | Keelan Diana


The "atomic age," as it is popularly known, was an era in which sensational and imaginative
stories proliferated. These stories all share an intense fear of radioactive fallout—of the
apocalypse, the rapture, the end of humanity as we know it—coupled with a passionate belief
in the power of modern science to shape a better future. This course is designed to
investigate the cultural fallout of the cold war, and to explore the symbolic freight carried by
the nuclear bomb, atomic science, and nuclear energy in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will
explore the connections between our current historical moment and the atomic age by
watching numerous science fiction and horror films and reading texts ranging from popular
“hard” science fiction stories to tales of "zombie wars”; and, with a little luck, we will learn to
ask difficult questions about the meaning and practice of history.