PS 491-001/791-002: Millennial Dreams, Millennial Nightmares



Syllabus Outline

Paper Topics



Fall 1998
Ernest J. Yanarella
Office Tower # 1659

If popular movies are barometers and signposts of mass cultural fantasies, political terrors, and psychic nightmares, we Americans as a nation and a people are in for some tough sledding as we negotiate the pathway to the next millennium. Already, we are being bombarded by startling visions of the apocalypse, cruel anticipations of ecological collapse, entwined conspiracies of government cabals and alien visitations, technophilic hopes of planetary domination and terra/terror forming, hallucinogenic plans for disembodied consciousness streaming through the vast and placeless void of cyberspace, and pastoral idylls awaiting the collapse of the our postmodern urban agglomerations.

Since the course will be taught as a topical seminar intended to foster lively discussion among participants, regular attendance throughout the semester is a requirement. Indeed, seminar participation will account for 20% of the final course grade. In addition, the mid-term will comprise 40% and the remaining 40% will be attached to the seminar paper. Seminar papers will be put on the course Web page at the end of the semester and selected student papers will be chosen for one or more panels at a conference scheduled for Spring 1999 at Georgetown College. Students will therefore be encouraged to identify the topic of their papers early in the semester both to hasten their research on the topics and to assure that the final papers are well researched and well grounded and are contenders for consideration on the conference panels. All papers must be submitted at the end of the semester in hard copy and on disk in Word 6.0 (or later) or WordPerfect 5.0 (or later). Paper selected for the conference may undergo subsequent revision. A list of potential paper topics have been generated, but students may, with the permission of the instructor, pick other ones.

The following books required texts and may be purchased at the University or Kennedy's Bookstores:

Robbins, Thomas; Palmer, Susan J.; and Tom Robbins, eds. Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Movements. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Thompson, Damian. The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. University Press of New England, 1997.

Walzer, Michael. Exodus and Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1986.

The remainder of the seminar readings will be found either on reserve at the Young Library or on-line.

Comments? Contact: Dr. Ernest J. Yanarella (
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