Program in Comparative Literature

Liza Goodstein




contemporary North African literature, gender and sexuality, "in-betweenness," memory, the fantastic


RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of The Apocalypse

43650 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM FAC 9

It’s the end of the world as we know it--do we feel fine? It may seem like doomsday talk is everywhere right now, but apocalyptic narratives have often accompanied moments of social upheaval. So how do we evolve from visions of nuclear apocalypse in the 1950s and 60s to environmental apocalypse in the 1990s and early 2000s? What kinds of apocalypses are we beginning to see imagined today?  And where does the zombie apocalypse fit in? In this course, we will examine how apocalyptic fictions emerge from their historical moments and create arguments for social change. We will begin by looking at the origin of the term “apocalypse” and its dual function as both destruction and revelation. We will see how apocalyptic narratives have come to occupy two distinct but overlapping spaces: real-world predictions and artistic depictions. From there, we will engage with both types of apocalyptic narrative across a variety of different media, analyzing how speakers use rhetorical strategies in order to create apocalyptic scenarios that critique elements of their society and argue for change. Finally, we will use what we have learned about apocalyptic rhetoric to invent our own arguments around these themes.


This class uses the Learning Record portfolio system, an open evaluative model that uses observation, conferences, and student-compiled portfolios to measure student development across five dimensions of learning. In addition to completing the assignments below, students will submit a midterm and final portfolio to be evaluated by the instructor.


  • Project 1: Annotated Bibliography
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                                                                                    
    • Revision                         
  • Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis Paper
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                                                               
    • Revision                                                 
  • Project 3: Final Project
    • Draft (+ Peer Review)                   
    • Revision
  • Short writing assignments and blog posts


Required Texts

  • Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts. Utah State University Press, 2006.
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
  • All other readings will be provided by instructor on the course website.

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