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USF professors, fiction writers to discuss apocalypse theories

TAMPA, Fla. -- For the last few years, the blogosphere has buzzed with dire predictions that the end of the world is at hand -- either at the hands of God, ancient Maya prophecies, or human beings’ capacity to destroy ourselves or our environment.

The USF Humanities Institute invites you to explore such “Visions of the Apocalypse” in a three-day event this March, when two renowned science fiction authors will join a USF Mayan expert and professors in Religious Studies and Chemistry to debate our fascination with end-time scenarios.

USF kicks off the event with a public talk by Christian Wells, associate professor of anthropology at USF, and a well-known scholar of ancient Maya culture. On March 19, at 7 p.m. in Marshall Student Center (MSC) 2707, Wells will invoke archaeological evidence in addressing “The Ancient Maya Doomsday prophecy: Some helpful tips for surviving the end of the world.”

Then on Tuesday, March 20, two leading apocalyptic science fiction writers: Joe Haldeman and Nancy Kress will speak at USF. Haldeman, who teaches science fiction writing workshops at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author of nearly 30 novels and short story collections. His work has won numerous awards and his 1998 novel, “ForeverPeace,” won the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Award. Nancy Kress has authored 26 novels and collections, often focusing on genetic engineering. She has won several Hugo and Nebula Awards and her novel, “Probability Space,” won the 2003 John. W. Campbell Award.

The authors will treat audiences to a reading on March 20, at 7 p.m. in the TECO Room (Education Building), preceded by a wine and cheese reception and book launch in the rotunda outside the TECO room, starting at 6 p.m. Kress will sign copies of her brand new book, “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall,” while Haldeman will present his 2011 book “Earthbound.”

While in Tampa they will visit several USF classes to discuss their writing techniques, genre-specific ideas and cultivating creativity. On Wednesday, March 21, Kress and Haldeman will be joined by USF faculty David Merkler (Chemistry) and Dell deChant (Religious Studies), for a panel discussion on our cultural obsessions with the apocalypse (2 p.m. MSC 3705).

The series of events is co-sponsored by the USF School of Mass Communications and the Department of English.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Events Humanities Institute English Mass Communications 
Author: Special to CAS