’The Final Countdown.’ The Aesthetics and Politics of Apocalypse

Annual conference at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies from November 17-18, 2023

Freie Universität Berlin’s Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies invites members of the public to take part in their annual conference from November 17-18, 2023, on the university’s Dahlem campus. The two-day event, titled "’The Final Countdown.’ The Aesthetics and Politics of Apocalypse" will focus on apocalyptic scenarios from a literary studies perspective. In addition to a panel discussion and presentations given by experts from across a variety of fields, the actors’ cooperative NIE will give a special performance. Anyone with an interest in the topic is warmly invited to attend. Those wishing to attend the conference and/or the performance are asked to register in advance at: https://fsgs.fu-berlin.d­e/thefinal­countdown.

The hands of the Doomsday Clock are moving ever closer to midnight. The final countdown is upon us - are we on the verge of destruction? In our current climate, a preoccupation with apocalyptic scenarios and predictions seems to be unavoidable. As time appears to be running out, human narratives of disaster - due in no small part to the current military conflicts taking place across the world - are unfolding with ever-increasing rapidity. And yet these narratives are not a modern invention; they have existed for centuries.

Due to the subject’s current relevance and its continual presence throughout (literary) history, this year’s annual conference at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies (FSGS) is dedicated to the aesthetics and politics of apocalypse with a particular view to their temporality.

During the conference, international guests, together with members of the FSGS past and present, will examine how apocalypses are told and imagined. They will delve into apocalypses as the subject matter of literary productions and explore the complexity and ambiguity of narratives that deal with the topic. From Dante’s Commedia to the poetry of Stefan George, approaches to individual works will be presented in dialogue with reflections and observations on various forms of how the apocalypse has been perceived throughout the Anthropocene.

The annual conference will be accompanied by a theatrical performance by NIE on November 17, and will conclude with a panel discussion in cooperation with the  Cluster of Excellence 2020 "Temporal Communities"  on November 18.

Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies:

The FSGS is a structured doctoral program and a permanent institution within Freie Universität Berlin’s Department of Philosophy and Humanities. Various institutes from across the Department of Philosophy and Humanities participate in the FSGS, as do the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies and the Institute for Latin American Studies. The FSGS also collaborates with multiple departments from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Leibniz-Zentrum für Literaturund Kulturforschung, thus covering the entire spectrum of literary studies. The graduate school oversees dissertation projects in literary studies that are exceptional in both their design and theoretical framework and that investigate European and non-European texts in a historical and/or intercultural, transcultural context.

The Latin words veritas, justitia, and libertas, which frame the seal of Freie Universität Berlin, stand for the values that have defined the academic ethos of Freie Universität since its founding in December 1948.