The End of the World: Apocalypticism through the Ages

Zombies, viruses, and robots, oh my!  Images of the apocalypse permeate our popular culture.  (When the undead threaten to upset Jane Austen’s polite society, you know something’s up.)  We are hardly the first to fixate on the end of the world, however, as millenarian movements may be found throughout history.  But why?  What impels us to dwell upon—or even hasten—the end?  This course will explore that curious habit by investigating the Fall of Jerusalem during the Jewish revolt (66-70 AD); medieval millenarianism during the First Crusade and in the wake of the Black Death; and, closer to home, American utopian and end-of-days movements in New Harmony, Indiana.  Students will also have the opportunity to understand these movements better through a hands-on research experience using archival materials at the ISU Library’s Special Collections.


Dr. Steven Stofferahn, Chair & Associate Professor
Department of History
Indiana State University