Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Amy Rust, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Cummings, Ph.D.

Keywords

Heidegger, Netflix, The Walking Dead, Third Nature

Abstract

This project proposes that one factor of growing societal interest in the apocalypse narrative is rooted in these stories reflection on our new landscape of telecommunication flows embodied in the Internet. The apocalypse narrative has steadily been growing in popularity, and many academics have offered potential explanations. While other analyses predominately focus on the actual apocalyptic event itself as representative of various societal fears, this project aims to focus on aspects of how we adapt to being in the new apocalyptic landscape, and how this reflects on our own adaptation to being in the new landscape of the Internet. This project takes the work of Martin Heidegger as its primary theoretical lens in an examination of the popular television series The Walking Dead and the Internet streaming service Netflix. This project finds that both the apocalyptic landscape and the new landscape of the Internet throw us into decentered worlds where it is easy to be alienated from one another. Alleviation of our anxieties brought on by these strange landscapes lies in our recognition of being-towards-others in the world and engaging in acts of community building. However, a greater – more global – sense of community is frequently subverted by the way relationships are revealed by technology as divisive.

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