Profs & Pints DC: The Doomsday Lecture-Door tickets remain available.

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Monday, September 26 2022 6:00 PM 8:30 PM EST

Advance ticket sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.

Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Doomsday Lecture,” a look at bunker fantasies, apocalyptic fears, and other visions of life after the world ends, with David L. Pike, professor of literature at American University and author of Cold War Space and Culture in the 1960s and 1980s: The Bunkered Decades.

When R.E.M. sang “It’s the end of the world as we know it (And I feel fine)” back in 1987, they were mocking the Reagan administration’s embrace of fallout shelters, military bunkers, and the thought of nuclear war as a practical Cold War tactic. They were also singing about their abject fear of the world they were trapped in.

Whether it’s through a meteor strike, climate disaster, or nuclear war, the end is nearly always envisioned as taking place abruptly, hopelessly, and completely. And in thinking ahead to it we’re left with one of two options: Bunker up and use new technology to survive the conflagration or make fun of those who do. 

Learn more about bunker fantasies and apocalyptic fears throughout the Cold War and into the present day with David Pike, who’s been researching and writing about them since the 1990s. In a talk illustrated with images, clips, and music drawn from cartoons, comics, movies, newspapers, and civil defense initiatives, he’ll explore the vast archive of fantasies and nightmares about the world’s end.

You’ll learn about why the prospect of nuclear war inspires as many daydreams as it does nightmares, and how those dreams and nightmares evolved during the 1960s, the 1980s, and into the present day.  

You’ll also hear about writers and artists who have imagined the apocalypse differently than as an end to be either embraced or feared.

You’ll be glad to be around to attend. Professor Pike will be donating his share of ticket revenue to the New Sanctuary Coalition, the American Friends Service Committee, and (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)

Image: Fallout shelter supplies are distributed to a Catholic school in New Hampshire in 1963. (Photo: Office of the Chief of Engineers / National Archives.)