Designing the Post Apocalypse

Honors College
Design Cultures + Creativity
University of Maryland, College Park
Fall 2017
HDCC 208

From Noah’s Ark to pop culture, the post-apocalypse has been spoken, written, and sung about, has been painted and drawn, and lives within our current structures of feeling. These apocalypse narratives generally focus on impending doom and what happens immediately afterwards, from the world-in-ruins to fighting zombies. What about the real-life apocalypses that have already happened, or are currently happening to particular groups of people? In this course we will first investigate the histories of the apocalypse, followed by interpreting/analyzing current pop culture understandings. Then we will look to those who are already living in a post-apocalyptic world, from lands laid to waste by so-called ‘natural’ disasters, to those apocalyptic presents legislated into being through the limits of care.You will learn to use design practices to consider different outcomes of various apocalypses, and then create responses across a range of media, from designing (fictional) tools and other resources, to narrative storytelling and game design.