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Topics in social welfare, social policy, service delivery, research, theory, and practice; basic social worker values and concepts
Zombies are a popular metaphor for apocalypse both in popular culture and mainstream academic pursuits, even being used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for teaching emergency preparedness. This course uses current research and science on Catastrophes and Human Behavior together with the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse to learn about the nature, scope, and impact of catastrophic events on individuals, families, societies, civilizations, and the Earth itself.
Throughout the history of the planet, there have been events so severe and on such a scale that they have brought about the collapse, destruction, and even the end of entire societies and civilizations. Some have been biological—like the Great Plague of the 14th century, which claimed the lives of nearly one-fourth of the European population. Others have been geological—such as the great 1556 Shaanxi (Shensi) earthquake in China, killing nearly 1 million people. And some originated from space—like the asteroid impact some 65 million years ago that quickly led to the extinction of 70 percent of all living species on the planet, including the dinosaurs.
The question at the center of this course is, “How do humans behave in catastrophic times?” Does their behavior change in the midst of trying to survive and the decisions they face? We will examine major catastrophic events from the past, look to potential future events, and consider a concept for increasing our chances of survival.
The course begins and ends with a “Catastrophic Event Simulation” (a Coronal Mass Ejection Incident has caused a Zombie pandemic). Students are assigned into Survivor Groups located throughout the United States and must face the challenges of living and surviving together during a catastrophic event.
In times of catastrophes some people find their humanity, while others lose theirs. What will you and your group do?