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A new English course is sure to bring much-wanted doom and gloom to students at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus this Fall.
When English Professor Jeremy Beaulne discovered he was teaching English 231: Studies in Popular Narrative this September, he immediately set out to create a unique course that has never before been offered at the College.
After scanning a wide array of first-year English courses at the College and across the country, he decided to focus the course on a topic popular from highbrow literature to Netflix – the apocalypse.
“Recently, I’ve seen many first year English classes talk about technology and the thought of technology potentially surpassing humans,” explains Beaulne. “I was interested to see how this cataclysmic thought manifested in popular media and quickly saw it’s something people are obsessed with. There are constantly new movies, TV series and literary works about apocalyptic scenarios.”
Beaulne’s course will provide an in-depth study on apocalypse through a series of classic texts, contemporary works and modern films. Students can expect to delve into materials spanning over two centuries, from 19th century poetry to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which has recently seen new life and a surge in popularity thanks to a 2017 TV series adaptation on Bravo.
“I have always loved to imagine end-of-the-world scenarios, especially zombies,” says Beaulne. “This course will look into different types of apocalypses including alien and technological invasions, zombies, ecological decimation, and other doomsday scenarios.”
Another unique feature of the course sure to delight students: Beaulne’s end-of-the-world reading list is open-ended.
“Students will have the chance to bring their favourite—or new—apocalyptic literature and complete an assignment based on their chosen text,” says Beaulne.
Beaulne has been a member of the Okanagan College English Department since 2008. When he is not teaching, Beaulne is active in amateur theatre and can often be found in the director’s chair helping to craft the next production for Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players.