The purpose of this article is to interrogate ways that curriculum can respond critically to already existing global emergencies (including pandemics) while also becoming more proactive toward the prevention of world risks. To do this, it calls for the fortification of the traditional course of study that introduces students to the analysis of literary texts. However, a traditional approach to school-based literary analysis that attends exclusively to a text’s formal properties in order to determine its meaning is insufficient to get ahead of the world risk curve. Instead, the article turns to the concept of allegory as theorized in curriculum theory and to a theory of preventative foresight to interpret a famous dream (of a world-shattering contagion) in a famous work of literature (Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment) that provides a novel opportunity to understand the significance of sense in the time of plagues.
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