Tick, Tick, DOOM!

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
SUNY at Buffalo Dept. of Comparative Literature
contact email: 

Call for Papers:


 “Tick. Tick. DOOM!: Precariousness and Time”


The Fourth Annual Undergraduate Symposium of Popular Culture and Philosophy

Hosted by the SUNY at Buffalo Department of Comparative Literature Graduate Student Association

Keynote Speaker: Shaun Irlam, PhD

Featured Graduate Presenters: TBA

Friday, November 17th, 2017, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Saturday, November 18th, 2017, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


“We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.” - Kenneth Clark

                Given the current socio-political context in which we find ourselves, the distance between Doomsday and the human race seems smaller than ever. In times like these it can be difficult to be optimistic, further contributing to the overall sense of impending disaster. This does, however, force us to reflect upon time and our contributions to it, as well as our real power when things reach a tipping point. There was a time when there was a great deal of optimism about the future, and the technology that it would bring. We hope to discuss both of these potential futures, as well as any others you might opt to present.

This symposium seeks to explore the nature of time, the state of precariousness, as well as notions of doom and destruction. Whether discussed individually or interrelated, many of the points of discussion will overlap. Typically our submissions range from highly philosophical (more typical of graduate students) to highly oriented in Pop Culture. As always, we hope that you will explore the potential to remedy these problems beyond any provided critique. Creative works are encouraged, though our ability to provide special accommodations may be limited.

  Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Post-apocalyptic literature, film, video games, etc
    • Doom, Fallout, Hunger Games, Divergent, Dr. Doom, Guardians of the Galaxy and more
  • Time travel
  • The notion of precariousness, particularly in terms of poetics
  • Socio-political concerns (we prefer topics suggesting action, over critique).

Some examples may include:

  • Racial tension
  • Genocide/Eugenics
  • The military state
  • Robotics and artificial intelligence, and the governing laws therein
  • Mortality and/or the inevitability of obsolescence
  • Hope in times of turmoil
  • Survival narratives, including but not limited to
    • Refugee narratives
    • War Stories
    • Utopian/Dystopian Fiction
  • Buying time, environmentally, for example
  • Being, Time and “The Event”


We invite submissions for papers or creative works focusing on literature, popular culture, philosophy and theory.

Presentations should be in English and should not exceed twenty minutes. We welcome undergraduate submissions from students in any discipline.


Please send abstracts of 150-250 words by email to UBCOLsymposium@gmail.com, or submit a printed copy at 634 Clemens by Wednesday, November 1st, 2017. Proposals should include your paper title, name, contact information, and institutional/departmental affiliation (university and major).


Round-Table Discussion: Students are invited to send a 4-5 sentence proposal for a round-table discussion that they will lead. Round-table presentations will take from 5-15 minutes and discuss a topic related to the conference in a panel of peers, including at least one graduate moderator. A discussion will follow, allotting 30 minutes per topic.