Jessica Hurley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century American fiction; her dissertation, titled "Ground Zero at the City on a Hill: Apocalypse and the Politics of Form in the Nuclear Age," explores the ways in which apocalyptic fiction after 1945 confronts and combats the oppressive millennial narratives of Cold War America. Her research and teaching interests include American literature after 1865, queer theory, critical race and ethnic studies, religion and literature, the history of science, and American regionalism, nationalism and transnationalism. When she's not reading about the end of the world, she mostly does the bidding of her two cats, Dumpling and Jam, and makes devised theater with her experimental theater company, Applied Mechanics. 

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Laura Finch is a doctoral candidate in the program in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is writing a dissertation titled “After the Good Life: Political Feelings and Financial Crisis in the Contemporary American Novel.” Her work focuses on contemporary US novels about economics and citizenship. Having moved to America from England six years ago she now lives with her cat Bertie in West Philly, where she can be found biking around, drinking coffee, fostering kittens, teaching yoga, or trotting about in Bartram’s Gardens.

We would like to thank our faculty mentor, Jean-Christophe Cloutier for his enthusiasm and support during our summer of research. Thanks to the Philadelphia City Archives and the Regional Plan Association for permission to reproduce archival material. We would also like to thank Penn GAPSA and the Office of the Provost for their generous support, and the Green Line cafe for hosting our exhibition for the month of September.



Matthew Farish, “Disaster and Decentralization: American Cities and the Cold War,” Cultural Geographies 10, no. 2 (2003): 125–148.

David Harvey, “Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction,” GEOB Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 88.2 (2006): 145–158.

Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

Dean MacCannell, “Baltimore in the Morning... After: On the Forms of Post-Nuclear

Leadership,” Diacritics 14, no. 2 (1984): 33–46.

Patrick B. Sharp, Savage Perils: Racial Frontiers and Nuclear Apocalypse in American Culture (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).

William K. Tabb, The Long Default: New York City and the Urban Fiscal Crisis (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1982).

Paul Williams, Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-apocalyptic Worlds (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011).