Field of Focus III - Funded ProjectsApocalypse Now

Figures of the end of the world and its consequences

Project leader:

Prof. Dr. Robert Folger


Apocalypses are characterized by radical changes of the conditions of living, which imply the imperative of a fundamental reform of a way of life. In view of measurable climate change and its empirically verified ecological consequences, expectations of a looming apocalypse proliferate today, but they are by no means exclusive to our present. Robert Folger and Thomas Meier authored a proposal for a Käte Hamburger Kolleg on this topic. Its purpose is to use, in a transdisciplinary perspective, the hermeneutic prism of the apocalypse for a differentiated description (as transformation, collapse, catastrophe and annihilation vis-à-vis crisis, threat, development and adaptation) of systemic changes in societies, individuals and their respective environments in past and present as well as the reactions to and the visions for the aftermath of catastrophes (as postapocalyptic scenarios). For the sake of international and transversal approach and the transdisciplinary dialogue the ten fellows from all over the world invited by the center every year, will work in three macro-areas (An Archive of Apocalyptic Imagery, Experiences of the Apocalypse and Post-Apocalypsis, and Present Day Apocalypses). Although these macro-areas have different foci they are mutually imbricated. This structure makes it possible to reflect and make use of the highly specialized and diverse research areas in the Humanities, the Social, and the Natural Sciences, establishing innovative form of collaboration between them.