Ground Zero at the City on a Hill: Apocalypse and the Politics of Form in the Nuclear Age


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation reads apocalyptic fictions in post-1945 America as they engage with the millennial structures – discursive, ideological, and material – of the Cold War and its aftermaths. In a wide range of texts from 1945 to the present, apocalyptic narratives are not limited to voyeuristic representations of disaster or expressions of postmodern anomie but rather are used to negotiate the oppressive terms of American nationhood and citizenship. Through readings of Ayn Rand, James Baldwin, Samuel R. Delany, Tony Kushner, Tim LaHaye, and David Foster Wallace, this project shows how apocalypse in the nuclear age allows for sustained attachments to worlds that seem unsustainable, threatened, or foreclosed.