Middlebury

MiddLab

Coping Mechanisms

“In an incomplete world, we depend on closure for our very survival,” writes Scott McCloud. What does it mean to continue on after the world has already ended? In post-apocalyptic fiction, survivors attempt to find meaning in a husk of a world which has suffered an unspeakable catastrophe. This project explains how the post-apocalyptic narrative structure confronts fears of trauma and loss. I will first outline how various postmodern theorists have approached the topic, before explaining how different narratives across media have played the premise out in fiction. From the mushroom cloud of Fallout Games to the zombie of Dawn of the Dead, representations of post-apocalypse posit a frighteningly unresolvable world and tap into the important question of how we tell stories.

People

Michael Suen
Researcher

Alison Byerly
Sponsor, Provost & Executive Vice President; Professor of English & American Literatures

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A MiddLab Project

The Financial Burden of Terminal Illnesses and the Support System

Learn more about Economics and History at Middlebury College.

The onset of terminal illness within low and middle income families often has devastating effects. This effect is substantially magnified if the person who becomes terminally ill is the primary bread winner of the family. In the Indian setting the onset of terminal illness causes three primary changes within a family’s daily functioning. Firstly, the individual and to an extent the family has to face social stigma that is associated with certain terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and Cancer. Secondly, if the primary bread winner is affected then the family looses a significant revenue source. Thirdly, the terminal illness results in large increases in medical expenses. However, regardless of the intensity of the financial crisis these families do function (however impaired) from a week to the next. My research explores the support structure that allows for this sustenance, its nature and composition, and attempts to utilize the findings to stimulate policy changes within the local and state systems.

People

Anil Menon
Researcher

Peter Matthews
Sponsor and  James B. Jermain Professor of Political Economy

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