Call for Papers

Brest, 8-10 March 2017

Imag(in)ing the Apocalypse

«When Armageddon takes place, parking is going to be a major problem»,
J.G. Ballard, Millenium People (2003)

This conference, ‘Imag(in)ing The Apocalypse’, is the second in a series dedicated to “Forms of the Apocalypse” and has a specific focus on screen culture (Gervais, 2009) and screen society (Lipovetsky and Serroy, 2007). The aim of the series, organised by three research centres (at the University of Paris 8 Vincennes/St Denis, the University of Western Brittany, and the University of Montpellier) is to explore representations of apocalypse, of cataclysm, armageddon and beyond (if the beyond can be imagined).

Since the turn of the last century, the End of the World has once again become a salient topic in various expressions of popular culture, from fiction to social media to on-screen texts, both big and small. A resurgence of representations of the apocalypse tends to occur in periods of ontological and epistemological crisis (Seed, 1999). Visions of the end of the world, and/or the end of the human race (not necessarily the same thing) are currently taking centre stage in the collective imagination and in visual media, resulting in a proliferation of “apocalypse” discourses in a range of contemporary contexts. These discourses find expression in fictional rhetorics of decadence and degeneration, but can also take on a political dimension, creating oppositions between Self and Other in which normative identities are confronted with otherness as menace or as evil, as well as in survival narratives of preparations for/life in a post-apocalyptic world.

As the notion of apocalypse increasingly ‘contaminates’ the mediated spaces of popular culture, it gives rise to a profusion of lexical, textual and visual forms of ‘end-of-the-world’ discourses, at times playful (witness the birth of portmanteau words featuring -pocalypse and -geddon) as well as ironic (we can also note the commercialisation of the apocalypse in franchise films and in TV series, where the end of the world can often seem never-ending). In addition to its omnipresence on the big and small screen, representations of the apocalypse also permeate discourse genres such as advertising, online game scenarios, and many other virtual/physical interactional spaces.

We invite contributions to the conference in Brest which explore this rich multimodal discursive seam through the theoretical prisms of film, television, media and cultural studies. Amongst others, possible topics could therefore include:

·                     The characteristics of apocalyptic discourse in contemporary digital society
·                     The role of the screen (digital/cinematic) in diffusing end-of-the-world discourse
·                     Transmediality and the Apocalypse
·                     Apocalypse and reception
·                     Apocalypse and commodification
·                     Forms of “Apocotainment”
·                     Vampire and Zombie culture as apocalyptic tropes
·                     The apocalypse in online gaming scenarios
·                     Digital spaces in apocalyptic hyper-reality
·                     Playing with the apocalypse (wordplay, parody, etc.)
·                     Cashing in on the apocalypse (advertising, marketing, etc.)
·                     Politics, politicians and the apocalypse
·                     Apocalypse, dystopia and surveillance societies
·                     Imagining the end: (un)representability of the apocalypse

Paper proposals should be send to the following address :

The closing date for submitting proposed papers is 30th October 2016.

Indicative references:
Agamben, Giorgio, Qu'est-ce qu'un dispositif ?, Paris, Rivages, 2014.
Barker, Chris and E. Jane, Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice (5th Ed.)London: Sage, 2016. Baudrillard, Jean, Simulacre et simulation, Paris, Galilée, 1981
Benoit Eric & Rabaté, D., Nihilismes ? Revue Modernités, n° 33, Bordeaux, PU de Bordeaux, 2012. Chassay, Jean-François et al., Des Fins et des temps, Les limites de l'imaginaire, Figura, n° 12, UQAM, 2005.
Engelibert, Jean-Paul, Apocalypses sans royaume, Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2013
Fœssel, Michaël, La privation de l’intime - Mises en scène politiques des sentiments. Paris : Seuil, 2008
Fœssel, Michaël, Après la fin du monde, critique de la raison apocalyptique, Paris, Seuil, 2012. Flusser, Vilèm, Into the Universe of Technical Images, Nancy Ann Roth tr., Electronic Mediations, vol. 32, Minneapolis, AZ et Londres, GB : University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
Foster, Gwendalyn, Hoarders, Doomsday Preppers and the Culture of Apocalypse. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.
Gervais, Bertrand, L'imaginaire de la fin, Logiques de l'imaginaire Tome III, Montréal, Le
Quartanier, 2009.
Hubner, Leaning and Manning (2015) (eds) The Zombie Renaissance in Popular Culture, Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan ;
Jenkins, Henry, The Wow Climax : Tracing the Emotional Impact of Popular Culture, New-York, NYU Press, 2006.
Lipovetsky, Gilles, Jean Serroy, L’écran global : culture-médias et cinéma à l’âge hypermoderne. Paris, Éd. Le Seuil, coll. La couleur des idées, 2007.
Ermakoff, C, Fins du monde, Revue de cinéma Vertigo, n° 43, été 2012.
Seed, David, Imagining Apocalypse, Studies in Cultural Crisis, Basingstoke, McMillan, 1999. Weiss and Taylor: (2014) (eds) The Cultural Un/Life of Zombies, Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory, 13 (2).
Rehill, Annie, The Apocalypse Is Everywhere: A Popular History of America's Favorite Nightmare
Westport: Greenwood Press, 2009.
Ritzenhoff, Annie, The Apocalypse in Film: Dystopias, Disasters, and Other Visions about the End of the World, Langham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Roth, Nancy Ann tr., Into the Universe of Technical Images, Electronic Mediations, vol. 32, Minneapolis, MN, et Londres, GB : University of Minnesota Press, 2011.