On March 25, 2011 from noon to 1pm, Lee Clarke (Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University) will give a presentation on “Worst Cases: Coming to Terms with Fear and Loathing in Modern Society” in the Gendebein Room (Skillman Library). Please join us for this fascinating talk!

Description: Al Qaeda detonates a nuclear weapon in Times Square during rush hour, wiping out half of Manhattan and killing 500,000 people. A virulent strain of bird flu jumps to humans in Thailand, sweeps across Asia, and claims more than fifty million lives. A single freight car of chlorine derails on the outskirts of Los Angeles, spilling its contents and killing seven million. An asteroid two kilometers wide slams into the Atlantic Ocean, unleashing a tsunami that decimates life on the eastern seaboard of the US. We consider the few who live in fear of such scenarios to be alarmist or even paranoid. But Worst Cases shows that such thinking—like Cassandra foreseeing the fall of Troy—can be reasonable and prescient. Against prevailing views, fear and dread, Clarke argues, have actually become too rare: only when the public has more substantial information and more credible warnings will it take worst cases as seriously as it should. How shall we think about the unthinkable? That is the central question for this talk.

Lee Clarke teaches sociology at Rutgers University. He exists virtually at leeclarke.com, as Worst Cases does at worstcases.com

Sponsored by the American Studies Program, the Anthropology and Sociology Department, and the Government and Law Department.