Apocalyptic Narratives & Climate Change



A centerpiece of the initiative is a new, interdisciplinary, upper division and graduate class, “Climate Narratives, Apocalypse and Social Change, that will be taught for the first time in fall 2021.

Course Description: Apocalyptic narratives, which in the United States are rooted in particular traditions of American religiosity and morality, have become a staple of climate change writing. Yet the very pervasiveness of apocalyptic thinking in the American grain--in essays, books, documentaries and even Hollywood movies--may in fact make these narratives less alarming rather than more. In this course, we will consider the origins of apocalyptic narratives, while also studying a variety of alternative approaches--literary, journalistic and filmic--from the history of writing for social change. Our collective research will culminate in a real-life outcome at semester’s end: the naming of the best climate narrative from 2018-2020.

Instructors:  The course will be co-taught by two award-winning writers and journalists, Steven Beschloss, professor of practice in the Cronkite School and director of ASU’s Narrative Storytelling Initiative, and Sarah Viren, assistant professor in the College of Integrative Arts and Sciences’s Language & Culture program. 

Registration: This interdisciplinary course is cross-listed across multiple ASU schools and units. Undergraduates and graduate students can register now as a 494 or 598 via any of the following links:

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious StudiesSchool of Social Transformation, or the Department of English

College of Global Futures
School for the Future of Innovation in Society