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Call for Submissions:“Precarious Water Futures and the End(s) of World(s)"

An Integrative Dialogue Across Disciplines and Societies, Interdisciplinary Symposium, New Delhi, 13–16 November 2024

The symposium is organized by the Käte Hamburger Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies (CAPAS), Heidelberg University, Germany, in collaboration with the M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political’ (ICAS:MP), New Delhi, India, the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, the Rachel Carson Centre (RCC), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and the South Asia Institute (SAI), Heidelberg University, Germany.


We are pleased to announce a call for individual paper and panel proposals to be included in our international interdisciplinary symposium on “Precarious Water Futures and the End(s) of World(s) – an Integrative Dialogue Across Disciplines and Societies”, 13–16 November 2024, at the India International Centre, New Delhi, India. Our call for submissions aims at scholars from all disciplines in the humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering.



Water is essential for biological life on our planet and has played a key role in society and culture throughout history. It is used for direct consumption cleaning, transportation, agriculture, industry, crafts, warfare, and religion. An end to available water would mean an end to the world as we know it. Climate change, arguably one of the most significant existential risks to humanity, affects the water cycle in multiple and complex ways, e.g., accessibility of drinking water, pollution, rising sea levels, changing rain patterns, flooding and drought. These may cause water disputes resulting from conflicts of interest between divergent public and private stakeholders or states. Water is at the heart of the identity of many peoples. It is at the core of religious narratives and practices. The existential role of water is mirrored in a wide range of further cultural representations in literature, music, movies or games – ranging from drought-stricken post-apocalyptic wastelands to all-encompassing floods. 

All these perspectives on water are currently debated in many conferences – but mostly separated by disciplines and methodologies, which poses problems to integrative solutions. In this international symposium, we would like to explore how the expertise from a wide range of academic disciplines can fruitfully interact to study the complex and intertwined interrelationships of water emergencies in times of climate crisis and the related looming end(s) of world(s). We particularly endorse multiperspectivity and plurality of approaches in considering the increased complexity of this existential risk to humanity. We invite researchers from diverse backgrounds within the humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering to propose panels, papers, or posters (including lightning talks) for this interdisciplinary symposium. The presentations can focus on, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • How are water distribution and water quality affected by water scarcity due to climate change? Related examinations may focus on issues such as regional factors, changing weather patterns, potential health risks, governance/politics, economic implications, doomsday prepping, etc.
  • What are possible ethical or justice implications of water scarcity regarding issues such as water availability, indigenous perspectives, the situation of vulnerable groups, promoting ethics and justice facing the end of the world, international frameworks, etc.
  • Which technical and societal solutions can counteract water scarcity in countries affected strongly by climate change and what are their implications, limitations, challenges, etc.?
  • In which way do water emergencies (e.g. desertification, water scarcity, sea level rise) affect habitability? Possible topics for contribution include migration patterns of the past and present, health, resilience, infrastructure, water management and ecosystems
  • What insights can be gained from history regarding water emergencies?
  • From Kadvi Hawa to the Great Flood and Mad Max– how are water emergencies depicted in different cultural and pop-cultural settings?
  • How can interdisciplinary research contribute to a better understanding and policy-making regarding different forms of water emergencies?

Submit a Panel or a Paper Proposal

For individual paper proposals (20 min presentation + 10 min discussion) or posters and lightning talks (5 min), we request scholars to submit an abstract of max. 300 words (including the title) that outline their original research to be presented at the symposium along with a short CV.

We especially encourage scholars who wish to conduct collaborative research projects to submit joint interdisciplinary panel proposals that bring together at least two disciplines of the humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering. We request prospective panel chairs to apply with a short panel abstract (max. 300 words including title) for a session of 90 min (3x30min). The application should include a list of participants, titles of individual papers, individual paper abstracts (max. 300 words), and short CVs of all participants. Panel participants do not need to send an additional individual application.

Please, direct your applications and inquiries to: rolf.scheuermann@capas.uni-heidelberg.de.


The deadline for the submission of proposals for individual papers and panels is 15 April 2024. You will be notified about the acceptance of your proposal by 15 May 2024.

We are planning to put forward an edited collection about the theme of the symposium featuring selected papers from the panels. A decision about which papers to include will be made with respect to scholarly quality, originality, and relevance. The editors will invite the selected participants after the symposium to submit an article.

Symposium Fees & Travel and Accommodation Grants

No symposium fee or registration fee will be charged. Limited travel and accommodation funds are available upon request. Interest in travel and accommodation grants should be voiced along with the application in combination with an estimate of the expected costs.

Visa Requirements and COVID-19

Visa requirements or travel restrictions may vary according to the visitor’s nationality, and the situation. The organizers are not responsible for procuring a visa or necessary travel documents. Please, contact your consulate and apply for the appropriate visa accordingly. The organizers can provide you with an invitation letter and the New Delhi Branch Office of Heidelberg University can support you in case of problems.


Academic Committee

  • Thomas Meier, CAPAS, Heidelberg University
  • Ute Hüsken, SAI, Heidelberg University
  • Marcus Nüsser, SAI, Heidelberg University
  • Shail Mayaram, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
  • N. Janardhana Raju, JNU
  • Rita Brara, Ashoka University
  • Jörg Gengnagel, University of Würzburg
  • Suboor Bakht, Heidelberg University Office for South Asia
  • Rolf Scheuermann, CAPAS, Heidelberg University