As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, this episode explores the significance of apocalyptic and dystopian narratives for our current crisis-laden moment. While typically associated with large-scale death and destruction, the word ‘apocalypse’ also means a revelation or uncovering of what was hidden in plain sight. Joined by noted science and speculative fiction and film scholars Gerry Canavan and Mark Soderstrom, and co-host Linda Liu, we will discuss what this pandemic is revealing about the systems we inhabit, as well as some lessons and limits of cultural texts that imagine apocalyptic scenarios and dystopian societies.
Gerry Canavan is an associate professor in the English Department at Marquette University, specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature. His first book, Octavia E. Butler, appeared in 2016 in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series at University of Illinois Press. He tweets at @gerrycanavan and has recently embarked on an ill-considered Kurt Vonnegut reread podcast @gradschoolvonn.
Mark Soderstrom has been a professional blacksmith, carpenter, labor organizer, and musician. He is now an Associate Professor in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Work and Labor Policy programs of SUNY-Empire State College. He has published work on labor history, history of science, oral history, neoliberalism, and speculative fiction.