Update: Zombie Apocalypse

FYI, my constitut6ional convention simulation class (post-zombie apocalypse), now has 11 students registered, with several days left in the registration period. This means I not only have enough for the course to run, but I have enough to have real debate, sub-committees, partisan sides, etc. (I was dreading getting just 5 or so to sign up).

This means all your contributions will not go for naught. Thanks, all. I will give updates. My next step is to draft one-page overviews of each state, so the delegates have a sense of who they’re representing, and I’ll probably post those for approving plaudits and blistering critiques.

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30 thoughts on “Update: Zombie Apocalypse

    • Huh, that’s an interesting wrinkle. I might have to bleg for constituent demands, and hold them in my pocket until a good opportunity to throw them at delegates, whether a lull in the action or a moment when I just want to throw them a curveball.


      • It just seems to me that when you get a seat at the Constitutional Convention, you become a target for lobbying, special interests, quacks, and crazies, not to mention actual concerns and ideas about how things should be from all over a plethora of ideological paradigms. Lots of opinions to sift, weigh, and balance, and not much room left over for your own thoughts and notions without some serious effort at compartmentalizing.


      • zic,

        That’s undoubtedly true today. It brings up an interesting question whether it’s actually better to do it the American Founders’ way and meet in secrecy. Both openness and secretiveness have benefits and drawbacks.

        Keeping with my interest in making this a realistic exercise, going the Founders’ way would be inappropriate, because the most common way now, I believe, is with more openness. I hadn’t thought of that element before your comments, so thank you. Now I just have to figure out how much complexity I can handle as the general manager of the simulation.


    • The zombies are all gone. That’s why social structures have revived enough to think about a union of the new states.

      That is to say, the zombies are just an excuse for positing social collapse and reformation of new states along different boundaries, and play no role in the game (unless the students insist on having some zombie provisions in the Constitution, which I’ll reluctantly allow, since I’ve sworn not to direct them except to head off obvious silliness).


      • @patrick–From the response of students I’ve pitched this to, zombies are still golden. But I, too, expect a day when students will roll their eyes. Hopefully by then the class has good word of mouth, because I’m not doing werewolves and vampires (and hopefully Twilight is out of print and forgotten soon anyway). As a child of the cold war, I automatically think nuclear apocalypse, but that doesn’t resonate with college students today the way it did for me in the ’80s. And I’m skeptical about fanning fears of terrorism, when I think the issue’s badly overblow already. So what’s that going to leave me? Asteroid strike?

        @chris–I’m soooo glad you left that there.


      • Hanley

        Zombies are fine, but if you are simply looking for a there and then gone cause of partial collapse, it seems like a pandemic would be just as good and less implausible (i.e. easier to extrapolate an internally consistent answer when a student asks an unanticipated question). Besides, that way it’s probably easier to tune the pandemic’s agent and vector(s) to “plausibly” produce the starting conditions you want.

        I don’t remember on the prior post whether you went through your thought process about how you came to decide on zombies.


      • @scott-the-mediocre–My thought process was that I was teaching a brand new experimental course, and if I didn’t get enough students to make it work well it was going to be a long hard semester. So anything that would hook them in. I might have promised donuts and bourbon every day, too.

        @jaybird–post-EMP would work well for explanation; ideally perhaps. But it wouldn’t draw the students in as much.

        I’m really counting on word of mouth in the future. And curiously, today I bumped into a student I hadn’t seen in over a year, and she told me she was recruiting students to take my Nuclear Weapons and Power course, because it was “probably her favorite course ever.” That’s what I’m hoping for next time. (Plus it’s a nice ego boost.)


      • Donuts and bourbon, eh? Are you sure you want to make your simulation of 1787 that realistic? If so, as a starting point, here is the well-known bar bill for one of the two celebratory dinners in Philadelphia, which somewhat to my surprise contains no whiskey or brandy, though it does include a lot of other potables.


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