The City at the End of the World: Eschatology and Ecology in Twentieth-Century Science Fiction and Architecture


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project reads the sometimes fantastic, sometimes terrifying future cities imagined in twentieth-century science fiction and architectural speculation as expressive of different understandings of the nature of history and the relationship of the future to the present. Examining the implications of these temporal discourses for environmentally conscious thought, it argues that the apocalyptic conception of history as a closed field discourages ecologically sensitive thinking, as a concentration on historical ends obscures the processual connections linking humanity to the non-human world in the evolving present. Post-apocalyptic critiques of apocalypse, in contrast, offer productive visions of a temporally open world in which humanity contributes as one actor among many collectively producing historical and material reality.