Jessica Hurley

Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities

20122013 Forum on Peripheries

Jessica Hurley


Living on the Edge of Time: Affects of Apocalypse in the Nuclear Age

My dissertation project explores the ways in which the apocalypse has been felt as part of lived experience from the end of the Second World War to the present day. In contrast to the popular equation of postmodernity with post-apocalypse, I argue that the sense that the end of the world is nigh is a central part of contemporary experience. Drawing from recent developments in affect studies, I trace the impact of apocalyptic thought as it is revealed in the affective investments which it enables and forecloses. In readings ranging from evangelical tracts to mainstream literature and from nuclear arms manuals to nuclear pulp fiction I argue that the feeling of imminent apocalypse can lead to a reconsideration of the nature and potential of social and political agency.