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Stories of world-ending catastrophe have featured prominently in film and television lately. Zombie apocalypses, climate disasters, alien invasions, global pandemics, and dystopian world orders fill our screens—typically with a singular figure or tenacious group tasked with saving or salvaging the world. In her new book, Apocalypse and Heroism in Popular Culture: Allegories of White Masculinity in Crisis (McFarland Press, 2022), Dr. Katherine E. Sugg asks, why are stories of End Times crisis so popular with audiences? And why is the hero so often a white man who overcomes personal struggles and major obstacles to lead humanity toward a restored future?
This book examines the familiar trope of the hero and the recasting of contemporary anxieties in films and TV like The Walking Dead, Snowpiercer, Mad Max: Fury Road, and more. Some have familiar roots in Western cultural traditions, yet many question popular assumptions about heroes and heroism to tell new and fascinating stories about race, gender and society, and the power of individuals to change the world.
Katherine E. Sugg is a professor of English and Latino & Puerto Rican studies at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. She teaches and writes on world literatures, Latino and comparative American studies, and film and media. She has also written several journal articles and published a book entitled Gender and Allegory in Transamerican Fiction and Performance.
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