Stockholm University (on location and online)
The conference will deal with cultural images of collapse that are endorsed by the extinction of biological species and disappearance of familiar biological communities.
In the past few years, discourses on collapse have been more and more visible in the public space, as if it was too late to address the major challenges posed by climate change. The idea of systemic collapse is not new, as many civilizations had what was called Kulturpessimismus in Germany at the turn of the 19th. What is striking about the current situation is the multiplication of theological, scientific and philosophical discourses dealing with the notion of collapse, as if the globalization process with its main ideas (rapidity of exchanges, acquisition of new markets, cult of growth) reached its final phase. The cultural images of collapse are further endorsed by the extinction of biological species and disappearance of familiar biological communities.
This conference aims to question the notion of collapse and analyse how it contributes to produce new aesthetical and semiotic forms as well as new kinds of reading. What kind of literary genres appear in parallel with a discourse on collapsology (science-fiction, dystopia, essays, post apocalyptic fiction)? Do these genres include a direct form of ideological interpretation of the world? How do they relate to the factual processes of climate change and sixth mass extinction? What type of reading do these works trigger?
Comparison is the key to understand the emergence of these new genres. The conference welcomes analysis of works that have a relation to the notion of collapse so that a comparative corpora can be built. One objective is to analyze literary works on collapse in Romance literature but other case-studies or comparisons are welcome.