"Apocalypse and Authenticity" - International Conference

11-13 July 2017, University of Hull

Conference of the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network

*** Conference Program announced: download as PDF***

About the Conference

Ours is a time of crises it seems: the financial crisis, the Greek crisis, the refugee crisis, the ecological crisis. We can add a crisis of trust and a sense of disempowerment, in particular when it comes to the interaction between individuals and institutions. In particular media seem to thrive on these narratives labelling these so-called crises as quasi-apocalyptic events.

In pop culture, too, the fascination with the apocalyptic continues to flourish in documentaries about the end of history, in TV series, and films. “I saw the end of the world” from the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer suggests that the apocalypse is more than a label we ascribe to express a sense of urgency with which we ought to deal with certain social phenomena. It continues to be, it seems, a mysterium tremendum et fascinans, something we want, indeed must see with our own eyes.

At the same time, culture seems to be concerned with authenticity, or lack thereof: authenticity in politics, authentic identities, authentic nationhood, authentic religion, in reality TV, or docudramas. Social media seem to inhabit an ambivalent space when it comes to authenticity. They are often perceived as more spontaneous, immediate, and therefore more authentic than traditional forms of media and communication. Yet, text and image based communication often allows for the careful crafting of the communication flow and communicators can zoom in and out of a conversation in an instant.

This concern with authenticity manifests itself in the celebration of the inauthentic, the artificial, the fake, or the (artificial) construction of authenticity. A number of media and film narratives propagate a sense of nostalgia and the idea that society needs to return to an (idealized) past if it wants to rediscover its authentic self and renew an authentic way of life. The popularity of such narratives seems to suggest that we long for things we experience as lost, and this experience might indeed drive apocalyptic imaginations: a desire for renewal and return to a nostalgic past that can only be achieved through an apocalyptic event and the collapse of established power structures and economic forces of oppression.

Religion is deeply intertwined with ideas of the apocalypse and the question of authenticity in popular culture. At the same time, the biblical and early Christian understanding of the apocalypse has been transformed through popular culture. In religious terms, the apocalyptic event uncovers and reveals the truth. As such, authenticity can be seen as a blessing of the apocalypse. As transformative event, it is something to hope for and look forward to. It seems that this - original - religious meaning of apocalypse grips the popular imagination and current affairs. It is not the catastrophe itself that is most scary, but the individual who acts to realise their authentic freedom in catastrophe, not for catastrophe’s sake, but to bring about change and transformation, e.g., the terrorist, the religious fundamentalist, etc.

Popular media, then, draw on the rich pool of religious language, symbols, and meanings and repurpose them. Through leaving out and adding to the traditional texts, they create a new apocalyptic tradition. Religious believers participate and engage with this transformative process and often create their own popular media narratives of the apocalyptic.

  • Call for Papers
  • Programme/Keynotes
  • Registration
  • Venue
  • Accommodation
  • Contact

Call for Papers

Aim / Call for Papers

The aim of this conference is to explore the themes of the apocalypse and authenticity – either separately or jointly – in popular culture, their theological and religious roots, as well as their socio-cultural, political, and economic relevance. We welcome submissions that explore a broad range of topics on the conference themes both from scholars from various disciplines and from practitioners working in media or faith communities. Paper submission can be either on the topic of the apocalypse or the topic of authenticity or both topics.

In particular, but not limited to, we are interested in papers on either the apocalypse or authenticity or both from the following perspectives:

  • apocalyptic film and TV
  • apocalyptic cities, city planning and city regeneration and the apocalypse
  • the apocalyptic state; state institutions, authenticity, and the apocalypse
  • contemporary religious apocalyptic narratives (including fiction, and other literary forms)
  • religious (scriptural) meanings of the apocalypse and contemporary interpretations
  • the apocalypse and terrorism
  • environmental apocalypses, political and popular imaginations
  • authentic living and eating
  • authentic and/or/vs real
  • authentic religion
  • literary authenticity
  • authenticity and social media
  • economic, political and ideological eras (and their end)
  • technology and the end of the world
  • authenticity and a renewed enchantment of the world
  • the apocalypse and authenticity from a non-western, non-Christian perspective
  • graphic novels
  • (popular) music, the authentic, and the apocalyptic

Creative and Artistic Contributions

We also encourage the submission of creative and experimental contributions or artwork (e.g. short films, photography, videogames, etc) in spirit with Hull - UK City of Culture 2017. If you do so, please include a brief summary of space/facility requirements your contribution might need.

Deadline and Submission

The deadline for all submissions is 15 January 2017. Please submit your 250 word proposal for a 20 min paper, including your name, institutional affiliation, and short bio online. If you have any issues with the online submission form, please email us at apocalypse@hull.ac.uk.

Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network

This conference is part of the bi-annual conference series of the international Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network. For more information about the Network or to join the Network mailing list please visit the Network website.


For any queries, please contact us at apocalypse@hull.ac.uk.

Organizing Committee

Alexander D. Ornella Paul Dearey
Senior Lecturer in Religion  Lecturer in Religion


Prof. Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati, University of Munich
Staging the Future and Enjoying Disasters: Apocalyptic Imagination and the Quest for Authenticity

Prof. Robert M. Geraci, Manhattan College, NYC
Waiting for the End of the World: Technology, History, and the Indian Struggle for Independence

Dr. Natasha O'Hear, St. Andrew's University
In Search of "Authentic" Apocalypticism: Explorations of the Apocalypse in Popular Culture, Literature and Music.

Michael Takeo Magruder, Visiting Artist & Researcher : British Library Labs, London
De/Coding the Apocalypse: Reimagining the Book of Revelation in the Information Age


The draft program can be downloaded as PDF.





12.00 – 12.30




12.30 – 12.45



13.00 – 15.00

Paper Session I:



Literature I: Death and What Comes After the End?

Alice’s Apocalypse
Karen Gardiner

The Eyes of a Child: Figuring Innocence and Authenticity in P.C. Jersild’s After the Flood and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Jouni Teittinen

Dreams of disaster – Johan Harstad’s novel Darlah (2007)
Lars Rune Waage

Natural Disaster: The Role of Apocalyptic Nature in F.T. Marinetti's 'Zang Tumb Tuuum'.
Laelie Greenwood

Apocalyptic Cyberspace

Through a Glass Darkly: Apocalyptic Cyberspace and the fusion of Eastern and Western belief
Dani Shalet

Slender Man's Authentic Face: issues in communal re-creation and online mythology
Vivian Asimos

Apocalypse Online: Thematic Analysis of online survivalist forums
Pelham Carter

Stalkers, Soldiers, and Six-Armed Bears: The Cultural Legacy of Chernobyl
Andrew Graham Watson

15.00 – 15.30

Coffee Break


15.30 – 17.30

Parallel Session


Authentic Living and Authentic Religions

Rua Kenana and the founding of an authentic Maori religious movement
Paul Moon

Ayahuasca, Authenticity and Apocalypse
Georgia Van Raalte

Finding Authenticity through the Inauthentic: Radio Nostalgia and the Interplay between Past, Present and Future
Chris Deacy


TV: The End in Recent TV Series

Mr Robot: Hacking the Apocalypse
John Lynch

The Undead and (Un)Reality: The Walking Dead and Imagining a ‘Realer’ World
Tyrone White

Postfeminism at the End of the World: Authenticity and Identity in Doctor Who
Emily Rowson



Coffee Break



Keynote I



Conference Reception Arts Cafe









9.00 – 10.30

Keynote II


10.30 – 11.00

Coffee Break


11.00 – 13.00

Parallel Session


Living in the End Times

Possums in Paradise
Anna Boswell

Authentic Theology and Culture in Hull 2017
Eleanor Course

Sekai No Owari. Configurations of the Apocalypse in Japan
Stella Marega

Prophecy, Brexit and Babylon: Semiotic Promiscuity in Late Modernit
Steve Knowles


Cinema: Screening the Apocalypse

Secular Savior in the Cinema of the Apocalypse
Seyed Razi Moosavi Gilani

It’s not the end of the world: The imaginary apocalypse in Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter (2011) and Midnight Special (2016)
Catherine Wheatley

“We shall rule over this land, and we will call it… ‘This Land’” Morphosis, Diamond Ranch and the architecture of the dystopian post-apocalypse in Joss Whedon’s Serenity
Andrew Walters

A Road to Gnostic Salvation? The Ascension of the Soul in the Post-apocalyptic World of "Snowpiercer" (2013)
Fryderyk Kwiatkowski


13.00 – 14.00

Lunch Break


14.00 – 16.00

Parallel Session


Christian Music: Apocalypse, Eschatology, Authenticity

Evangelical Popular Musicianship and the Burdens of Sacred and Secular Authenticity
Ibrahim Abraham

Godwin Ogli

It’s the end of the world as we know it: How authenticity and eschatology cohere in contemporary congregational songs
Daniel Thornton

Born Again Apocalypse: Secularity and Religion in the “Eve of Destruction”
Kathryn Kinney


Western Apocalyptic Time and Personal Authentic Time
Bina Nir

Toward Aesthetics of Apocalypse: A Nostalgic Approach of Authenticity
Sheng-Yu Peng

The Apocalypse in Comic Book Universe and Film Adaptions

A Taxonomy and a Few Interpretations of Superhero Comic Book Apocalypses
Kevin Wanner

And in the Panel I Saw Myself in Tights Fighting Strange Creatures: Reading Superhero Comics Apocalyptically
Chris Lopez

16.00 – 16.30

Coffee Break


16.30 – 18.30

Keynote III



Conference Dinner










9.00 – 10.30

Parallel Session


Popular Music

Identity and Legitimacy in Heavy Metal after the Digital Apocalypse
Rio Goldhammer

Apocalypse as critical dystopia in modern popular music
Javier Campos

South African #FeesMustFall protest songs as the sound of apocalypse
Marie Jorritsma


Literature II: Apocalypse and Transformation

Edward Dorn’s Historical Apocalypse
John Armstrong

Totalitarian Opportunism:  J. J. Connington’s Nordenholt's Million (1923)
Jennifer Woodward

Representations of the Apocalypse in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy: Between Popular Entertainment and Longing for Eden
Stephanie Bender

10.30 – 11.00

Coffee Break


11.00 – 12.30

Parallel Session


Art: Imagining and Imaging the Apocalypse

Setting and Visualizing Apocalypse: Photographic Project
Grace Halden

The Ends of Literature - Apocalypse and the Power and Boundaries of Art
Sandy Lunau

The Apocalypse of Stanley: Authenticity and Millennium in Stanley Spencer’s  Resurrection Paintings
Tom Bromwell


Apocalyptic Religions

The Slovenian Zombie Apocalypse
Simon Cross

Andrea Borella

Apocalyptic Thinking and Process Thinking: Managing Apocalyptic Expectations
Moojan Momen


12.30 – 13.15



13.15 – 14.45

Keynote IV



Conference Fees:

Standard Conference Fee: £ 215.00

Student Conference Fee: £ 170.00

Conference fee includes: registration fee, refreshments, conference reception, conference dinner, light lunch. Please note that the conference fee does not include accommodation. You can book on campus accommodation separately (see "Accommodation").

You can register for the conference at the University of Hull's online store.


Conference Venue

venn buildingThe Apocalypse and Authenticity 2017 conference is part of the biannual conference series of the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network. The conference here at the University of Hull is jointly organized by members of the The School of Education & Social Sciences and the Subject group English. The roots of the University go back to the University College Hull founded in 1927. Through a Royal Charter in 1954, Hull became Yorkshire's third and England's 14th university.


Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull City of CultureThe city of Hull has been awarded the City of Culture 2017 title and is home to Hull City A.F.C., Hull F.C., and Hull Kingston Rovers. With Philip Larkin and William Wilberforce, Hull was also the home of notable figures in arts and the civil rights movement. Today, the University of Hull honours Wilberforce's legacy with the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation.

The Hull City of Culture Programme can be found on the City of Culture 2017 website.

Directions to the campus

wise oriel chambersFrom the city centre (Hull Interchange Rail Station), buses to the University are available on average every 10 minutes. The buses 10, 103, 105 stop in front of the main entrance of the University. A campus map is available here.




Travelling to Hull


Hull is easily accessible by train from Manchester Piccadilly (2 hours), Leeds (1 hour), or London Kings Cross Station (around 2.5-3 hours). If you are travelling by train, we advise that you book your tickets in advance as advance tickets are often discounted. Timetables and ticket prices can be found on nationalrail.co.uk.


If you arrive in London with the Eurostar service at London St. Pancras, you can easily catch a connecting train to Hull from London Kings Cross. London St. Pancras Rail Station and London Kings Cross Rail Stations are right next to each other.

Air travel

Hull can easily be reached through:

  • Manchester Airport (around 2.5 hours; there is a train service from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly with onwards connections to Hull),
  • Leeds Airport (1.5 hours; there is a bus service from the airport to Leeds Rail Stations with onwards connections to Hull),
  • or the London airports (with an onwards train connections to Hull from London Kings Cross).
  • Humberside Airport (around 35 min by car; Humberside offers regular flights to Amsterdam Schipol airport). 


If you are travelling by car, please use the postcode HU6 7RX for your sat nav. Detailed directions can also be found on the University's website.

Important VISA info:

Due to limited resources, we are - unfortunately - unable to assist you with any VISA queries or application processes. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this might cause.


Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull is the UK City of Culture 2017. With all the events that are currently being planned for 2017, Hull will be extremely busy. We therefore recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible. We will update this site with conference discount codes or conference/accommodation packages shortly.

On Campus Accomodation

There will be a limited number of on campus accommodation available in the University's newly opened Courtyard student residence. You will be able to book on campus accommodation during the registration process, the room charge will be 54.00 GBP (ex VAT).

City Centre Hotels

If you prefer to stay in the city centre for easy access to Hull City of Culture 2017 events, please find below a number of city centre hotels with easy access to public transportation, bus services (10, 103, 105), and taxis to the campus of the University of Hull.

Price range: £35 - £50 per night:

Holiday Inn Express Hull

Hotel Ibis Hull

Travelodge Hull Central

Price range: £40 - £65 per night:

Mercure Hull Royal Hotel


Deadline and Submission

The deadline for all submissions is 1 December 2016. Please submit your 250 word abstract including your name, institutional affiliation, and short bio to apocalypse@hull.ac.uk.

Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network

This conference is part of the bi-annual conference series of the international Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network. For more information about the Network or to join the Network mailing list please visit the Network website.


For any queries, please contact us at apocalypse@hull.ac.uk.

Organizational Committee

Alexander D. Ornella Paul Dearey
Senior Lecturer in Religion  Lecturer in Religion
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