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World first Warhammer 40k conference calls for academic papers

Academics from the Center for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic studies at Heidelberg university want to kick off Warhammer research.

Warhammer 40k Conference - Ahriman, a sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, in blue and gold armor with a red cape, draws lightning between his hands

A group of academics from Heidelberg University, Germany, and Lancaster, UK, are calling for papers for the first ever academic conference about Warhammer 40,000. According to the group, so far Warhammer 40k has “escaped scholarly attention”, but “Warhammer Conference aims to change this”.

The conference will take place in person and online on September 27 – 28, 2024, with the in-person portion happening at Heidelberg University. Academics from all disciplines are invited to submit papers about Warhammer 40k, whether they’re an expert in “Philosophy, Games Studies, Literature, Politics, Science & Technology Studies or Theology”, or something else.

Warhammer 40k conference - a varied party of Inquisitorial acolytes

The conference organisers suggest some potential topics on the conference website, including:

“Does fighting against extinction justify any means”… “how Games Workshop invented a whole new genre of art”… “Space Marines as ‘ideal abominations’”… “Religion and the Imperial Cult”… “Bolter-porn: on the joys of hyperbole and excess”.

The closing date for submissions is 31 July 2024 at 3am EST / 9am CET.

Warhammer 40k conference - Magnus the Red, Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons, a huge gold-armored man with red skin, bird clawed feet, huge wings, and a great staff, around which blue lightning swirls

This conference will be a milestone in Warhammer 40k’s growing prominence in mainstream culture, one of several in recent years. The announcement of the Warhammer 40k Henry Cavill film project may be the biggest, but the recent Warhammer 40k Call of Duty crossover is also pretty sizeable, and that one has actually come to fruition.

Then there was the Warhammer miniature art exhibition last year, which acknowledged the artistry of the miniature painting hobby – and Dorling Kindersley’s visual encyclopedia of Warhammer is coming this year, too.

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We can probably call Warhammer definitively ‘mainstream’ when someone publishes an essay collection called “Warhammer 40k and Philosophy” – surely not far off.

Wargamer will be watching the Warhammer Conference with interest. The papers that come out of it may be a little denser than Warhammer 40k books, but they’re sure to approach the model-making hobby, 40k game and universe, and GW’s history as a business from angles we’ve never considered before.

If you’re an academic keen to get into the burgeoning field of Warhammer 40k studies, make sure to read our expert guides explaining ‘What is Warhammer 40k?’, and the ins and outs of all the Warhammer 40k factions. Just make sure you cite us correctly.