The End of the World, a Universal Imagination

  International Symposium Nantes, France June 8th-10th 2016 Convenors :
  • Dr. Pedram Khosronejad (Institut du Pluralisme Religieux et de l’Athéisme, MSH-Nantes, France)
  • Dr. Nicolas Roussiau (Université de Nantes, Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire, Nantes, France)
Keynote speakers :
  • Prof. Christiane GRUBER, (Department of History of Art, University of Michigan/ USA).
  • Prof. Asqar MONTAZEROLQAEM (Department of History, University of Ispahan/ Iran).
  • Prof. David MORGAN (Department of Religious Studies, Duke University/ USA).
Call for papers Myths related to the end of the world are numerous and have resulted in a significant literature. The expression of this universal fear can indeed take various forms : myths, religious beliefs, cosmological systems, fiction, etc. Some aspects of ecological thought themselves derive their origins and paradigms from this collective imagination and contemporary environmental concerns can often be re-read in the light of stories or representations dating back to ancient times. In the West, the only myth of Atlantis invented by Plato has given rise to many interpretations and continues, even today, to power all fantasies and hypotheses, whether more or less likely. In any case it attests to the age and permanence of this questioning. It has its counterpart in other traditions, in the same way as the almost universal myth of the Flood or the engulfing of the world. Many other legends tell of comparable episodes, sometimes in a prophetic dimension. The history of religions should also be put to use. At the level of the news, certain doctrinal positions which can lead to extreme behaviour are not unconnected with the old forms of millenarianism and messianism. The belief in the Apocalypse surpasses the boundaries of the cultural and religious traditions from which it sprang and resurfaces regularly in the most varied forms. At the historical and political levels, the paradigm of the end of empires or the end of civilization joins this anguish of a collective end. In the Western world, the fall of the Roman Empire, just as much a historic event as a continually rewritten disaster scenario, raises the return to chaos or barbarism as the horizon of established political or social systems and resembles a prediction of the end of the world susceptible to fuelling the discourse of the proponents of the theory of decline. Members of the scientific committee will consider all proposed papers which permit an illustration or rereading of these questions. All historical, philosophical, anthropological, sociological or cultural perspectives are welcome. Papers (20 minutes maximum) will be presented in French or English. Proposed papers should be sent to before December 15th 2015. The Scientific Committee will announce the proposals selected by January 5th 2016 at the latest. How we think about the End of the World : imagining and surviving disasters. ATLANTYS is an interdisciplinary and intercultural research program granted by the Pays de la Loire region. Endorsed by the University of Nantes and Centre François Viète (Epistemology, History of Sciences and Technology), it unites several research institutions in France and abroad. Aiming at sheding critical and analytical light on the grounds of collective representations dealing with the End of the World and the Death of Mankind, our program is interested in the contemporary debates about the protection of the environment and human populations. ATLANTYS program’s research activities address various issues such as :
  • The interaction of human groups and populations with their natural environment and their reaction when faced with high-scale disasters (in a contemporary as well as historical perspective) ;
  • The expression and representation of the anxiety of our collective death or destruction ;
  • The reaction and behavior of human societies regarding the universal fear of their end ;
  • The converging points between irrational beliefs, religious conceptions and scientific theories.
Coordinator : Frédéric Le Blay. ATLANTYS participants Main partners :
  • Centre François Viète (Épistémologie, Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques, EA 1161), Universités de Nantes et de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest).
  • Centre de Recherches en Archéologie, Archéosciences, Histoire (UMR 6566-CReAAH), CNRS-Ministère de la Culture-Universités du Maine, Nantes, Rennes 1&2.
  • Espaces et Sociétés (UMR 6590-ESO), CNRS-Universités de Nantes-Angers-Maine-Caen-Rennes.
  • Littoral, Environnement, Télédétection, Géomatique (UMR 6554 LETG-Géolittomer), CNRS-Universités de Nantes-Brest-Caen-Rennes.
  • Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire (LPPL, EA 4638), Universités d’Angers et de Nantes.
Associate partners :
  • L’Antique, Le Moderne (L’AMO, EA 4276), Université de Nantes.
  • Centre Atlantique de Philosophie (CAPHI, EA 2163), Université de Nantes.
  • Laboratoire de Planétologie et de Géodynamique (UMR 6112-LPG), CNRS, Universités de Nantes et du Maine (Le Mans).
  • Centre de Recherche en Histoire internationale et Atlantique (CRHIA, EA 1163), Universités de Nantes et La Rochelle.
  • Centre de Recherches Archéologiques et Historiques Antiques et Médiévales-Centre Michel de Boüard (UMR 6273 CRAHAM), CNRS-Université de Basse Normandie/Caen.
  • Ruralités-Rural urbain, Liens Environnement, Territoires, Sociétés (EA 2252), Université de Poitiers.
  • Archéologie et Sciences de l’Antiquité, équipe THEMAM (UMR 7041 ArScAn), CNRS-Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre.
  • Institut Interdisciplinaire d’Anthropologie du Contemporain (UMR 8177 IiAC), CNRS-EHESS, Paris.
  • Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de l’Asie Orientale (CRCAO), CNRS-EPHE-Collège de France-Université Paris 7.
  • Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL), CNRS-Paris.
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