This unit addresses a range of issues relating to hope, hopelessness, and despair, while seeking to understand and critically engage them through the history of philosophies of hope, and engagements with apocalyptic thought. Beliefs and practices are inseparable which entails that practices of hope can be fruitfully examined in conjunction with critical analysis of the beliefs that ground and shape them. Is a global conversation now even possible? Are we doomed to the trauma of a violent despair? Is hope nothing more than nostalgia?

Unit code: AP3820Y

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Understand and analyse the importance of context for the development of diverse beliefs about hope


Evaluate a range of perspectives throughout the history of philosophy


Communicate a critical understanding of the overlaps between philosophical and theological analyses of hope and hopelessness


Analytically articulate an appropriate form of engagement with perceived or real problems of hope and despair

Unit sequence

18 credit points in AP or CT


Mixed mode – asynchronous lectures and synchronous student-centered tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Agamben, Giorgio. The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.
  • Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1958.
  • Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press, 2013.
  • Connolly, William. Facing the Planetary: Entangled Humanism and the Politics of Swarming. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2017.
  • Eagleton, Terry, Hope Without Optimism. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.
  • Gray, John. Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. London: Penguin Books, 2007.
  • Jameson, Frederic. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. London and New York: Verso, 2005.
  • Keller, Catherine. Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.
  • McDowell, John (ed.). ‘Hope in Dark Times’, special issue of Religions (2019-20),
  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Creation of the World or Globalization. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.
  • Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Belknap Press, 2007.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1

Essay 1700 35.0
Essay 3300 65.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 14 Jul, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-07-14 13:16:19 +1000