26.1 | Frederick Buell

Post-Apocalypse: A New U.S. Cultural Dominant

Over the last three decades, post-apocalypse has become a widespread feature of U.S. culture: in literary and popular fiction and film; in genres from science fiction to young adult fiction; on platforms ranging from print to television and even infants’ toys. Postapocalypse is in fact a cultural dominant in the U.S. now. It engages an across-the board turn toward social anxiety in a spectrum of cultural discourses, from technology and environmental theory to post-global capitalism. It springs from a peculiar dynamic of risk within U.S. society. And it provides material out of which a new U.S. global-cultural interface has formed.