Millenarism, past and present


è il titolo della Sessione 1202 proposta nell’ambito del 9° Congresso EUGEO, che si terrà a Barcellona dal 4 al 7 settembre 2023. Co-organizzatori dell’evento sono la Società Catalana di Geografia, l’Istituto di Studi Catalani e l’Università di Barcellona.

I curatori della Sessione, ai quali ci si può rivolgere direttamente, sono i proff. Christian Sellar (Università del Mississippi: e Gianfranco Battisti (Università di Trieste:

Secondo le prime indicazioni, gli estratti (max 300 parole o 2.000 battute) dovranno pervenire agli organizzatori ( entro il 31 marzo (gli interessati dovrebbero comunque tener presente la possibilità di una proroga). Fine marzo è pure la scadenza per l’iscrizione a tariffa early bird. La scadenza per le iscrizioni normali è il 31 luglio, dopo la quale non sarà ammessa la presentazione di lavori.

Di seguito i dettagli della Sessione:

Keywords: millenarism, geography of religions, catastrophism


In the history of literature, religion, and philosophy, apocalyptic texts have always been present, so much so that they constitute a genre in their own right, albeit a niche one. In Western culture, the origin of such genre, also called ‘messianism’ is firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, which links the end of the world to the coming of the Messiah.

The belief in Christ’s return (Parousia), expected as imminent at the beginning of Christianity, led in medieval times to the aspiration for an eschatological transformation of the cosmos, ‘millenarism’, which was spread by religious movements (such as the one led by Joachim of Fiore). Today such an instance characterizes various religious groups (Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses), and is also present beyond Christianity, in Islamic messianism.

Since the onset of modernity and Enlightenment, the progressive secularization of society seemed to cast aside the theme of the end, preceded by an era of social disorder and abandonment of faith. However, already in the mid-1800s, Karl Marx recovered a secular form of messianism in a political key by predicting the collapse of an unsustainable society and the birth of a new human condition. Even before Marx, the biologist Cuvier proposed a specific kind of apocalyptic notion – catastrophism – as an explanation for the repeated disappearance of many living species. Albeit eclipsed by Darwin’s success, catastrophism re-emerged in the 20th and early 21st Century era on two levels: political-economic with the world wars, and naturalistic with the ecological-environmental crisis.

The re-emergence of catastrophism has revitalized apocalyptic and millenarian narratives in the religious, military, political, social, cultural, and ecological spheres. Finally, the Covid19 pandemic has accelerated plans for a global reset of the economy, which is also rooted in apocalyptic fears.

This session invites contributions concerning the reinterpretation of modern and postmodern phenomena and discourses concerning the apocalyptic “signs” present in all religious texts, through the rereading of millenarisms of a materialistic nature in the light of the philosophical-religious matrix, and of the latter regarding phenomena that recall the “signs” of apocalyptic prophecies. The exploration of the links between modernity, postmodernity, and apocalyptic religious views opens up new areas of inquiry for the geographer interested in how such discourses and events are embedded in territorial transformations at multiple scales. These include, but are not limited to, the elaboration of scenarios for the future. The session includes coordinated presentations, to be delivered in English.