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Surviving the Apocalypse

Romain Chenet

Module Leader

Option - Second and Final Years
Term 2
9 x 2 hour workshops

Not available to students outside SCFS

This module is based on interlinked and contemporary crises that human societies face, with a focus on cultural histories. It considers limitations of our responses to and initiatives within apocalyptic conditions, looks to those living in the margins, and aims to help us rethink a range of crises. Please note that this module is intentionally experiential and includes a continuously updating set of inspirations by being focused on an ever-unfinished world. That means this outline is a tiny glimpse into a much fuller experience and, for personalised views of the module, I recommend you kindly ask fellow students that have taken it to share their experiences with you. Note this is one of the only GSD modules where, if you choose it, the assessments can be of a highly creative or 'alternative' nature. The module also includes a range of audio-visual teaching approaches, with two dedicated 'AV' weeks embedded in it.

Principal Aims

The module aims to facilitate a co-produced approach to social, economic, and political disorder, and to explore their links to eco-systemic breakdown. Students are invited to forward and discuss independent ideas on contemporary issues by exploring the possibilities and limitations of different responses. The workshop style aims to facilitate a collaborative, student-centred learning environment, requiring a curious approach to encountering development challenges through a deliberate provocation of 'apocalypse'. The intended result is similarly to offer a nourishing and generative - rather than extractive - space for student experiences and independent understandings to emerge from.

The rationale behind this module is a suggestion that humanity is limited in responding to crises not because of inadequate ideas, but because of the power of methods of thinking and practice that dominate, including in university contexts. The module thus also aims to collaboratively leverage 'education' in developing novel responses to crises.

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should:

  • be able to critically reflect on understandings of the crises faced by human societies;
  • be able to design a response to processes which are precipitating or emerging out of contemporary crises;
  • be able to reflect critically on potential successes and failures of past interventions, including 'Development' itself.

Indicative Syllabus

Weeks 1 - 3: Conceptual and contextual framings

  • Introduction: Crises and survivals in our times
  • Crises of understanding and action across history and the present
  • Frameworks for understanding in, from, and beyond education

Weeks 4 - 5: Responses to future(s)

  • Individualised and elite responses in our era (AV week)
  • The potential and pitfalls of grassroots, collective, and activist efforts

Weeks 6 - 8: Project ideas and development

  • Project dialogue and support session
  • Considering fiction and unusual case focuses in studying apocalyptic conditions (AV week)
  • Students' proposal presentations shared by Moodle video upload

Weeks 9 - 10: Outcomes

  • Creativity and creation
  • Revision and reflection: 'success', 'impact', and 'survival'.



1 x 10 minute proposal (video) individual presentation (20%)

1 x 2500 word (written essay or creative 'equivalent' length) project (50%)

1 x 1500-word or 3x 500-word reflection(s) on the project or module (30%)

  Please note: Module availability and staffing may change year on year depending on availability and other operational factors. The School for Cross-faculty Studies makes no guarantee that any modules will be offered in a particular year, or that they will necessarily be taught by the staff listed on this page.