AC/CFP: « Visions of Apocalypse », Cambridge French Graduate Conference 2011, King’s College, Cambridge, 7th-8th May 2011

Visions of the apocalypse necessarily reveal both the horizons and limitations of the thinkable within a given philosophical system, representing the end of humanity’s existence within the religious or scientific paradigms which a community chooses to impose upon itself. These visions are typically anthropocentric, insofar as the end of the world tends to be pictured as the result of human actions (sin, carbon emissions, the proliferation of nuclear weapons). Yet such visions also belittle the human by highlighting the existence of forces – natural or supernatural – which lie beyond humanity’s control, and which cannot be brought into submission. From the fire of the inferno to the chill of cold war, from the four horsemen to the twin towers and beyond, the annual Cambridge Graduate French Conference 2011 – Visions of Apocalypse – aims to draw speakers from a broad range of disciplines (literature, art, film, music, history, politics, ecology, theology, philosophy…) into a discussion of the end of the world as we knew it and know it and the role of French and Francophone culture in the production, reception, and evolution of such visions.

Paper abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted by Friday 11th February 2011 to

Possible topics for papers might include, but are by no means limited to:

– Representations of apocalypse in French and Francophone literature and thought from the Middle Ages to the present day

– Apocalyptic visions in the visual arts (painting, film, theatre, architecture)

– Warfare, destruction and the apocalypse (nuclear holocaust; modern and medieval crusading)

– Anthropocentrism and apocalypse: humanity’s place in global cataclysm

– The ends of time (historical, natural, spiritual)

– The relationship between scientific and religious explanations of apocalypse

– The causes and effects of apocalypse: natural disaster and/or divine retribution?

– Linguistic and cultural apocalypse (Francophone culture and globalisation)

– Postcolonial theory and the apocalypse: mapping the apocalypse into time and space

– Beyond belief: scepticism, faith, and the apocalypse

– Depictions of post-apocalyptic scenarios and concepts of futurity

– Apocalypse marginalised and apocalypse centralised: the apocalypse at the end of culture and at its heart

– University cuts and French studies: are we reaching the end of days?

Conference organisers: Leona Archer ( and Alex Stuart (

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