The Käte Hamburger Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies (CAPAS) at Heidelberg University focuses on the effects of catastrophes and end-time scenarios on societies, individuals, and environments.
Thereby, CAPAS employs a transdisciplinary research approach toward the production of a differentiated description of radical changes and breakdowns in the past and present. Furthermore, the Centre aims to explore, understand and challenge the reactions to apocalyptic scenarios as well as post-apocalyptic visions of the time after the catastrophe taking into account their respective historical and cultural contexts.
By focusing on social mechanisms and coping strategies of crises through the prism of the apocalypse, CAPAS provides applied knowledge about successful and failed responses to existential threats and their consequences. On this basis, the Centre contributes to topical debates on potential ecological and social breakdown. CAPAS thus sees itself as a platform for reflection on perceived doom that helps to strengthen societal and political resilience to end-of-life scenarios of all kinds and to anticipate social risks
The myth of the end of the world is a real success story. Even in the Bible, gloomy images of the imminent doomsday can be found. The Revelation of John, better known as the Apocalypse of John, prophesies the extinction of all life. Current end-time scenarios, for example in the wake of climate change or the COVID-19 crisis, demonstrate the timeliness of such imaginaries up to this very day. Humanity without a future is a motif that has been handed down across epochs and cultures. CAPAS therefore understands apocalypses not only as one of the most fundamental ideas in the history of humankind, but also as a recurring and empirically grounded experience of human history.