We are delighted to invite you to the third talk of the Fall 2022/2023 semester of the American Studies Colloquium Series:

Jakub Kowalewski
(Birkbeck, University of London/St Mary’s University)

The Shapes of Apocalyptic Time: Decolonising Eco-Eschatology

 This is an in-person event.

Thursday, October 27, 2022
at 4:45 p.m.

You can get 3 OZN points for participating in this event.
Check how to collect OZN points online here.


Room 317
al. Niepodległości 22, Warsaw
(the building features some mobility accommodations: ramp and lift)


In a recent article, Delf Rothe argues that contemporary ecological discourses are “deeply influenced by a linear temporality and a common orientation towards the threat of the end of time” derived from Christian eschatology (Rothe, 2020). Importantly, the belief that historical time is a single line leading to an apocalyptic event, generates two serious, interrelated problems for eco-eschatologies:

P1: The linear view of time centred around a present climate crisis or a future ecological catastrophe disregards past “ends of the world” experienced by colonised communities.

P2: The single timeline, expressed for instance in a narrative about future human extinction common to eco-apocalyptic discourses, creates faux-universalism by concealing the spatial and temporal distributions of the climate crises.

The aim of this paper is to offer a theoretical corrective to eco-eschatologies by proposing an alternative model of eschatological time capable of addressing both P1 and P2. In order to do so, I will first argue that the model of historical time found in apocalyptic literature is not a line but a spiral which combines linear and cyclical elements. Such an understanding of time would respond to P1 by recognising the connection between the past, present and future apocalypses, and the constitutive role of past “ends of the world” for an eco-eschatological history. I will then argue that apocalyptic discourse presupposes multiple timelines, whose relationship can be understood as a non-contemporaneous historical totality. I will sketch the latter in order to show how such a model of time can address P2. I will conclude by suggesting that a twofold understanding of eco-eschatological time – as a spiral and as a non-contemporaneous totality – can help us to devise, respectively, tactics and strategy for decolonial environmental politics.


Jakub Kowalewski works at Birkbeck, University of London and at St Mary’s University. He is the editor of “The Environmental Apocalypse: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Climate Crisis” (forthcoming with Routledge), and is currently writing a book, also for Routledge, entitled “A Philosophy of Climate Apocalypticism: In and Against the World.” Jakub holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Essex.

Year 2023/2024

December 1: Screening & Discussion with Co-directors of ‘CURED’ documentary

November 30, 2023

The American Studies Center and the U.S. Embassy Warsaw invite you to a special private screening of the award-winning documentary CURED, which highlights a pivotal but little-known moment in LGBTQ history when activists and psychiatrists rose up to challenge a formidable institution — and won!


Changes in Dr. Gajda-Łaszewska’s office hours schedule

November 30, 2023

Dr. Gajda-Łaszewska’s office hours will be cancelled on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

American Studies Colloquium Series

November 30: Conceptual Writing in Extremis: Sonic A(na)rchives in 21st-century North American Poetry

November 30, 2023

The lecture focuses on current developments in North American conceptual writing as a poetic mode invested in archival research. The common denominator of the archives that the poets selected for this study foreground are the forms of present-day extremity.

American Studies Colloquium Series

November 16: New Forms/Known Rivers

November 16, 2023

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought.

Year 2023/2024

November 9: Scared Sick: Medicine and the Gothic Tradition

November 9, 2023

Join Weird Research Group for the second meeting of Weird Medicine Series! This talk will be grounded in the foundational Romantic period and will explain ways in which Gothic works reflected some of the most controversial medical pursuits, playing out their possibilities and dangers.