We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Institute of Advanced Study

Apocalypse Now and Then

Seminar Series

Institute of Advanced Study, Cosin's Hall, Palace Green

Depictions of apocalypse - understood as revelation and/or the end of the world, in both religious and secular discourses - serve a variety of functions, ranging from the political to the scientific, and the theological to the anthropological. They can reinforce or subvert power structures, interrogate what it is to be human, and figure the future in order to reflect on the present. This interdisciplinary seminar series brings together experts from a number of disciplines to reflect on two intertwined themes. The first explores the functions served by end-of-world narratives and pictures, that is, it focuses on why apocalyptic stories are told rather than on what particular stories are told. The second analyses the ways in which the apocalyptic is characterized by a relationship with particular sorts of form, language and image, for example, metaphors and fictions, pictures, performances, and poems.

Speakers will analyse objects from the early medieval to the modern periods. Topics include Islamic literature, medieval and renaissance cartography, Newton and the Scientific Revolution, English Doomsday drama, Victorian 'last man' narratives, the Nordic Judgement Day, the Left Behind Series, and the Anglo-Saxon Ruthwell Cross.


18 October 2010
Dr Simon J James, Durham University
8 November 2010
Dr Darryl Jones, Trinity College Dublin
22 November 2010
Professor Geert Jan Van Gelder, University of Oxford
6 December 2010
Dr Alessandro Scafi, The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London
13 December 2010
Professor Terry Gunnell, University of Reykjavik
24 January 2010
Dr Mathew Guest, Durham University
7 February 2011
Professor Robert Iliffe, University of Sussex
28 February 2011
Professor Pamela King, Bristol University
7 March 2011
Professor Eamonn O'Carragain, University College Cork


Each seminar will feature a speaker and also a response by an expert in a related field. We intend to publish revised and expanded papers from the series as an edited volume. 

The seminars are free to attend and are open to all.  All seminrs will start at 5.30pm and will take place at the Institute of Advanced Study.  For more information, please contact Dr Kathryn Banks.