Lakers for Learning: Apocalypse to Zombie

Payton Cook, Staff writer

Although there are many interesting courses to take at Mercyhurst, arguably one of the most unique courses being offered next semester is called Apocalypse to Zombie. Apocalypse to Zombie is being taught by Robert von Thaden, Ph.D., a professor of Religious Studies. This course will compare different versions of “the end” by investigating the diverse ancient and contemporary cultural contexts out of which these imagined endings emerge. Stories about “the end” have been employed by various cultures. The course begins by examining ancient Jewish and Christian apocalypses. This includes looking at the books of Daniel, Revelation, Ezra, and Enoch. From there, the class will then look at narratives of “the end” in contemporary novels and film. These contemporary novels and films are not always about the end of the world, but express current fears and anxieties such as disease, racism, climate change, capitalist greed, imperialism, and more. This course also explores indigenous points of view, and how the First Nations in North America have dealt with imperialism and effects of it. The idea for this course originated from conversations von Thaden had with a friend from graduate school, who now teaches at Central Michigan University. Von Thaden said that he cannot take credit for the class, since many of his friends from grad-uate school teach similar courses. “It [the class] wrestles with deep questions that have sparked the imaginations of human communities, religious and not, from antiquity to today,” von Thaden said. The only prerequisite to take this course is that you have already taken an RLST or CST course, which is a REACH requirement. This is to make sure that students already have an understanding of the academic study of religion. This course is different from a REACH course in that it is an upper-level course, meaning that it is driven by student discussion and work. Students will share their ideas and research on deep questions proposed throughout the class. Students will also have a final project to complete on a topic they choose. This course benefits both Religious Studies majors and non-majors alike. There are five required texts for the course and it is a great way to learn about other cultures, learn from fellow classmates, and develop one’s own ideas about what “the end” might mean. If interested in enrolling in this class, you can find it on Self Service, listed as RLST-390. LAKER MOMENTWhodunnit?