Thursday, 4 December 2008

CFP RGS (6) Geographies of the end of the world

This session will explore the science, culture and geography of the ways that worlds end. Predictions of the end of the world have (of course) been around a very long time. Yet time has not stilled popular, religious and cult interest in the idea of the end of life on earth. Thus, the website "Exit Mundi" lists 56 end-of-world scenarios, classifying them into those that can happen any day now, those possible in the near future, and those in the distant future. Meanwhile, disaster movies continue to explore the world's end -- by rapid climate change, meteor strikes, alien invasion, deadly viruses, social and economic collapse, terrorism, technological change (especially the rise of robots), the expansion or decline of the sun, nuclear war, infertility, vegetation's revenge and the like. Western society remains fascinated by the horror of doomsday, by the possibility of its own catastrophic downfall. However, the popular fascination with our own extinction paradoxically domesticates it, makes it seem unreal, unworthy of serious thought. In this session, we will nonetheless take the end of the world seriously – but by thinking through its specific geographies. In this way, we hope to illuminate the processes and politics of global disaster, rather than just laugh them off. Contact:

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