SIUE Freshmen and the Apocalypse

A group of SIUE students discuss their film "Bentley" with their classLast Saturday a group of SIUE freshmen gathered to share their cautionary visions of the end of the world. The visions took the form of four short films created as the final project for the honors 120 English seminar course, “Modern Apocalyptic Visions.”

The course was created by Eric Ruckh after discussion with previous honors students about the Mayan apocalypse believed to occur in just a few short days. The aim was to teach students how to interpret literature critically and for symbolic content. The use of apocalyptic and post apocalyptic literature helped to draw student interest while simultaniously allowing for a closer look at the deeper meanings behind what is often regarded as nothing more than pop culture fancy.

“It dawned on me that there was a great interest in the apocalyptic,” Ruckh shared, “it allows us to speak about society and politicts at different times. It allows us to see what’s wrong with us, how we are sick, how we are hungry, and how we are empty.”

The course was well received by students, although several commented that they weren’t expecting the work load or in-depth level of discussion when they first signed up for the course.

“I did not realize how deep it was going to go,” Beth Reckham (student) shared, “It definitely helped me be analytical.”

Ruckh shared that the film assignment was his way of meeting the students halfway. Knowing that the course would require a great deal of heavy reading about a topic most students would be more familiar with in cinematic form he thought that the creation of twelve to fifteen minute short films would be a good way to allow students to creatively explore the concepts they’d been discussing in the course. The screening of each film was followed by a thirty minute in depth discussion where students explored the symbolism of each others dire warnings of the future.

Based on the positive student feedback Ruckh would like to see the course offered again in some form, perhaps as an IS course so a greater number of students could take advantage of it.

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