Contagion puts into stark relief both the dangerous consequences and absolute necessity of human contact. How do we make sense of an epidemic event through narrative and through what ways have we tended to tell that story? Can contagion “infect” or even resist narrative? We will explore “outbreak narratives” from different historical moments and the various means by which works of fiction grapple with scenarios of widespread epidemic disaster. Course texts include Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, Max Brooks’ World War Z, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and HBO’s The Walking Dead.