The Apocalypse in Theory and Culture
26 – May – 2012. University of Kent, Canterbury
Much contemporary discourse on history has emphasised its constructed nature, relating time’s flow to some human, anti-human or post-human agency. One potential danger of such an approach is that the real urgency of time and history can to some extent be said to have been neutralised, relativised, made too impersonal, reduced to a system of signs. Recent crises, such as those of the world economy, terrorist/counter-terrorist attacks, and ecological collapse provoke a reconsideration of the Apocalypse. Consequently there has been a call for a return to a certain Apocalyptic discourse within anti- and post-humanist circles (Derrida, 2003; Callus and Herbrechter, 2004). We must now ask if it is still possible and politically advisable to consider the end as something that can be resisted, deferred or if a revival of Apocalyptic discourse is needed. On the one hand, a renewal of Apocalyptic discourse seems to go against the deconstructive tendency to “de-dramatise the end” (Klaus R. Scherpe, 1986). On the other, this return does not necessarily lead to an unquestioned revival of metaphysics, but rather may open up the way to a third alternative. This third approach could consider the Apocalypse as something neither culturally constructed nor unrelated to human and technological actions, as something neither wholly internal nor external.
This conference wishes to examine the return of the Apocalypse in contemporary theory and culture. Some of the questions in which we are interested include: What does a return to the Apocalypse mean today? How should theory respond in times of crisis? What do our narratives of the Apocalypse tell us about our perceptions of the end?
Suggested topics include the following and their interrelations:
– Capitalist crisis
– Bio-politics, bio-economy
– Apocalypse in Literature and Film (Zombie, disaster genres, etc.)
– Cultural and sociological studies of the Apocalypse
– The theology and mythology of the Apocalypse
Please send abstracts (350 words) and a short biography to email@example.com by 20th February 2012.
The conference is organized by Skepsi, a peer reviewed online postgraduate journal based in the School of European Culture and Languages at the University of Kent and funded by the University of Kent.