Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
The recent resurgence of apocalyptic literature provides an apt lens through which to examine the hegemonies of postindustrial, twenty-first-century society and speculate on the circumstances that would be necessary to realize their end. For Lauren Groff’s Arcadia (2012), hegemony is formed through historical metanarratives that justify regressive systems, meaning that a dismantling of ideology would require a dismantling of these narratives. Though the apocalypse poses a threat to preexisting institutions in Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), the post-collapse society cannot escape updated manifestations of the same inequalities that plagued the pre-collapse world. The film Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) propels its vision of the future further than either of the novels, yet it too cannot bear the weight of its utopian ambitions, replicating the same cycles of violence it sought to transcend. Ultimately, apocalyptic fiction can more accurately critique contemporary hegemonies than it can imagine a futurity without them.
Horsman, Liam, "Who Killed the World?: Imagining the End of Hegemony in Twenty-First-Century Apocalyptic Fiction" (2017). Honors Theses. 186.