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SGL | Zombies in the City Upon a Hill: Apocalyptic Thinking in American Culture from the Puritans to Trump

When:Tu 15-03-2022 20:00 - 21:00
Dr. Jan Kucharzewski
Dr. Jan Kucharzewski

Interested in the origins, features, and lasting relevance of a distinctly American mode of apocalyptic thinking (commonly subsumed under the moniker 'American Jeremiad)’? Then join this lecture on Tuesday 15 March, 8.00 pm!

Starting with the fervent religious sermons of the Puritan settlers in the seventeenth century that tied the success of their colonies to a rhetoric of destruction and chaos, we will trace how the ideology of an 'American Exceptionalism' (which proclaims the United States to be a unique and exemplary country in terms of democracy and personal liberty) paradoxically also informs a strong undercurrent of eschatological anxieties.

The significance of apocalyptic thinking in the cultural history of the United States was still very much evident in the political imagery of the Trump administration and continues to shape public discourses surrounding the global pandemic. Along the way we will pay special attention to various pop-cultural iterations of the American Jeremiad in song lyrics, zombie movies, and post-apocalyptic video games like The Last of Us in order to explore how American culture has frequently interpreted the end of the world as a regenerative and economic possibility.

About the Lecturer

Jan Kucharzewski held positions as an assistant and associate professor for American Studies at the universities of Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Mannheim. He received his PhD at the University of Düsseldorf for a thesis on the relationship between literature and science, focusing on the works of the contemporary American novelist Richard Powers. The dissertation was awarded with a publication grant by the German Research Foundation. He has published papers and co-edited volumes on contemporary American film and literature, the frontier, network theory, neo-realism, postmodern subjectivity, masculinity studies, American hunting texts, and on American modernism. His current research project examines the connection between masculinity, liminality, and exceptionalist ideologies in American film and literature from 1800 to the present.


Date: Tuesday 15 March
Time: 20.00 o’clock
Location: Online
This lecture is free of charge, we do ask you to reserve a ticket so we can send you the link to the online event.