CFP: Risk and Rapture: Apocalyptic Imagination in Late Modernity
Centre for Faiths and Public Policy, University of Chester
Wednesday 11th September 2013
Keynote Speaker: Professor Scott Lash (Goldsmiths College, University of
Apocalypse captivates the human imagination. Once synonymous with end of
the world scenarios and confined largely to the religious, the term is
part of vernacular language in the West and is used to describe a myriad
of events from the fiscal difficulties of the Eurozone to nuclear war,
from environmental disaster to the dangers of digital technology.
The advancement of science and technology has assisted in expediting
anxiety with regard to apocalyptic catastrophe because such progress has
produced unforeseen hazards and risks. Critical theories of risk have
been developed that harness and organise responses to scientific
developments in an attempt to provide solutions to possible catastrophe.
It is suggested that in order to prevent global catastrophe, modern
society must be reflexive. Moreover, the advent of such hazards has
served as a recruiting sergeant for fundamentalist religious groups who
have clear and explicit eschatologies. Rather than viewing possible
risks and hazards as by-products of late modernitysigns of the times,
they are re-interpreted as signs of the end times. Consequently, one
strand that runs through the above is the political implications of
apocalyptic ideology and theories of risk. Whether this is the focus
some Christian dispensationalist groups put on the role of the state of
Israel in the Middle East, or the so-called catastrophic acceleration of
global-warming, decisions based on interpretations of these inevitably
have political ramifications.
The purpose of this inter-disciplinary conference is to investigate and
evaluate some of the variety of apocalyptic discourse that exists in
contemporary popular western culture along with critical theories of
risk. Papers are invited that explore both the secular and
religio-political dimensions of apocalyptic language in contemporary
society and include, but not restricted to, the following themes:
Secular interpretations of apocalypse;
Religio-political apocalyptic discourse;
Critical theories that seek solutions to contemporary notions
Correlations between critical theories of risk and apocalyptic
The growth of fundamentalisms as a reaction to risk culture(s).
Proposals for short papers are invited on any aspects or themes related
to the above. Papers will be 20 minutes in length with an additional 10
minutes discussion. Applications to submit a paper should include:
Proposers name and affiliation;
Title of the paper;
Details of any audio-visual equipment you will need to deliver
Short paper proposals should be submitted to Riskraptureconf [at]
chester.ac.uk by no later than 4pm on Friday 6th April 2013.
Conference costs: 50 (25 unwaged and students) inclusive of lunch and
Conference registration will open in due course.
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