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Surviving the Apocalypse

Romain Chenet
Romain Chenet

Module Leader

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

Not available to students outside GSD

This module is based on interlinked and contemporary crises that human societies face, with a focus on their contextual history. It considers past responses and initiatives in the light of apocalypse(s), looks to those living in the margins, and aims to understand and respond to root causes of crises.

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 not taught by a subject 'expert', but rather invited to forward independent ideas on contemporary crises by exploring the possibilities and limitations of different responses. The module aims to facilitate a collaborative, student-centred learning environment, requiring a self-directed and curious approach to encountering the world's development challenges through the deliberate provocation of 'apocalypse'.

The rationale behind the course is a postulation that human societies are unable to respond to crises faced because of methods of thinking that dominate - including in university contexts. The module thus also aims to collaboratively explore and leverage 'university education' in developing ideas/action that can respond to, or 'intervene in', 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 an intervention into processes which are precipitating, or emerging from, 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
  • Crises of understanding and response
  • Frameworks for understanding

Weeks 4 - 5: Responses to future(s)

  • Individualised and elite responses
  • Grassroots and collective responses

Weeks 6 - 8: Project ideas and development

  • Project dialogue
  • Creative and case study responses to 'apocalyptic' times
  • Proposing interventions

Weeks 9 - 10: Outcomes

  • Creativity in interventions
  • Revision and reflections: 'success', 'failure' and 'survival'



1 x 15-20 minute proposal presentation (30%)

1 x 2,500 word (or creatively 'equivalent' length) project (50%)

1 x 500-word reflection and 10 minute mini-viva with convenor (20%)

  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.