Event date 15 December 2010 (17:00-19:00)
The Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC) at Royal Holloway University of London
Dr Jason Dittmer (UCL) – Apocalypse, Now? The Geopolitics of Left Behind
In this presentation I trace the popular geopolitics of the best-selling evangelical Left Behind books, which have sold over 65 million copies globally, from the texts themselves to the ways in which audiences interpret and re-use them. In doing so, I highlight the complexities within evangelical imaginings of globalisation by tracing contradictory themes within the books, which fictionalize the seven year lead-up to the Battle of Armageddon. In alignment with the theology of premillennial dispensationalism, the authors describe the rise of the Antichrist to global prominence and the subsequent production of an oppressive world government. The Antichrist is opposed by the Tribulation Force, a group of born-again Christians who use the very tools of globalisation against the New World Order. Following on this exegesis, I shift to online ethnography to study the ways in which fans of Left Behind draw on biblical prophecy, Bible-inspired fiction such as Left Behind, and current events reporting to produce their geopolitical imaginations. Both points of commonality and points of divergence among evangelical prophecy-watchers are highlighted.