Optimistic Apocalypses: The End as a New Beginning, March 4, 2022

deadline for submissions: 
January 21, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
English Graduate Student Organization of George Washington University
contact email: 

Apocalypse implies a number of fraught theoretical terms, such as Freud’s death drive or the concept of the Anthropocene. Apocalypse, as a genre and a term, invites capacious understandings and definitions. To ground apocalypse in the past, present, and future, we can look to Kathryn Yusoff’s conception of the Anthropocene as “a politically infused geology and scientific/popular discourse [that] is just now noticing the extinction it has chosen to continually overlook in the making of its modernity and freedom” (Preface xiii). What’s more, according to Yusoff, “The Anthropocene might seem to offer a dystopic future that laments the end of the world, but imperialism and ongoing (settler) colonialisms have been ending worlds for as long as they have been in existence.” With Yusoff’s idea of an ever-present, dystopic Anthropocene at work through imperialism and colonialism, we might theorize ongoing apocalypses that challenge the popular notion of  “the apocalypse” as a singular and final endpoint. Apocalypse in literature, then, can appear not just as a genre, but as a throughline that connects and troubles our readings of texts that speak from and against the apocalyptic machinations of racial capitalism, imperialism, and colonization. 

The English Graduate Student Association of George Washington University invites submissions from graduate students in any discipline that engage ‘apocalypse’ and all its possibilities. Topics could include: 

  • Queer apoclaypses

  • Disability or cripping approaches to apocalypse

  • Black, Latinidad, ethnic studies or Asian studies approaches to apocalypse 

  • Apocalypse as represented in Medieval or Early Modern, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century or contemporary texts 

  • Digital humanities approaches to apocalyptic texts

  • Film studies approaches to apocalyptic texts


Please submit 300-500 word abstracts for fifteen-minute presentations to be shared virtually. All submissions should include the proposed paper title as well as a short bio (100 words). Send submissions via email with the subject line “EGSA Symposium Submission” to rcanter24@gwu.edu by Friday January 21, 2022.