A Global Research Institute of Queen's University Belfast


Affective Apocalypses and Millennial Wellbeing


18/08/2016 - 19/08/2016


9:00AM - 6:00PM


Lanyon Building, OG,074



We live in an era driven by new forms of apocalypticism. Religious fundamentalism, New World Order conspiracy belief, run-away climate change, post-humanism, the 6th extinction, global economic crises, post- Marxist social theory – all these produce intensified debates about our own imminent end. What, in this context, is the connection between millennialism, affect, and wellbeing? Popular stereotypes of millennial religion often assume such groups are motivated by psychologically and physiologically harmful ‘anxieties’ about present decline and future destruction. Yet, many millennial groups explicitly claim that their beliefs and practices create healthy minds and healthy bodies – as well as healthy souls. For Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists, for example, dietary regulations are a central part of wider millennial commitments to living healthy lives. Equally, for the 3HO movement, being ‘holy’ is inextricably linked to being ‘happy’ and ‘healthy’ – attitudes that also find resonances among some millennial expressions of the ‘Prosperity Gospel’. Yet, the picture remains complex and contradictory. Christian and secular expressions of survivalism, for example, while seeking to safeguard human wellbeing during the impending spiritual-cum- environmental apocalypse, also always run the risk of exposing members to the social, psychological, and economic traumas of ‘failed prophecy’, as experienced by Harold Camping’s Family Radio group in 2011.

In this context, this workshop will explore the affective power of religious and secular thought as related to the contested notion of ‘wellbeing’. How have human emotions – hope, resentment, anxiety, fear, pride, disillusionment – contributed to or undermined societal wellbeing within apocalyptic communities? What kinds of affective qualities do moral resentment and apocalyptic hope produce, and how do they relate to a person’s sense of physical and mental wellbeing? How and in what ways might these apocalyptic imaginations be regarded as simultaneously secular, religious, and post-secular?

For a detailed program of the event and speaker biographies, please download the link below:

Affective Apocalypse and Millennial Wellbeing - Program

Dr. Tristan Sturm - t.sturm@qub.ac.uk

Lecturer in Human Geography

Fellow of the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice

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