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'Apocalypse and Adaptation' opens in March at CSUEB


Two Cal State East Bay students, among those majoring in anthropology and museum studies, put the finishing touches on one of the displays in the latest exhibition of the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum, on the Hayward Campus.

  • February 28, 2013

What does our apocalyptic obsession reveal about us? 

Cal State East Bay’s C.E. Smith Museum of Anthropology will provide some answers when it hosts “Apocalypse and Adaptation: How Catastrophes Shape Society,” an exhibit running March 12 through June 14 in room 4047 of Meiklejohn Hall on the university’s Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. An opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7.

Regular hours for the show will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (except March 26-29, April 1 and May 27). Admission is free and the public is invited to view the exhibition, designed and created by CSUEB students enrolled in anthropology and museum studies.

“From the constant zombie films to Hurricane Sandy and the meteorites that hit Russia, it seems like catastrophic events are everywhere,” said Marjorie Rhodes-Ousley, museum associate director. “This exhibition is an opportunity to glimpse the relationship that humans have had with catastrophes for more than 75,000 years, and how that has shaped our culture more than most people might imagine.”

The exhibition offers a creative look into the role of catastrophes and adaptation on society. Featured are several interactive exhibits, including one on the Doggerland flood, created by sophomore psychology major Cielo Rojas of Union City.

Other exhibits include volcanic eruptions that have impacted human history, dystopian films, and a bomb shelter model designed by Alexa Straughan, a senior history major from Fremont, that reflect more contemporary apocalyptic fears.

The exhibition also reflects on how societies adapt to implement sustainability practices. An agricultural model designed by junior anthropology major Stephanie Maher of Millbrae provides a look at potential ways the earth’s natural resources may be sustained for future generations.

"End of days scenarios, catastrophes, and apocalypses are all deeply ingrained into our world cultures," said Lee Davenport, the exhibit coordinator and a graduate student in anthropology and history from Pleasant Hill. "Exhibit goers can explore how natural phenomena have guided beliefs in many cultures, and how obsessions with global destruction have shaped societies."

CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify the event sponsor at (510) 885-7414 at least two weeks in advance if accommodation is needed.

Campus parking is $2 per hour at meters or at pay dispensers in Lots K, G, N, or in the lot adjacent to Greek Hill. (View the campus map.)

More information is available on the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum Web site. Group tours may be arranged by contacting Rhodes-Ousley at

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