2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse

Published reviews:

  • “Gelfer is to be congratulated on the selection of authors and the organisation of the material into a very satisfying collection …  It will be of interest to anyone studying contemporary religion or millenarian movements” — Journal for the Academic Study of Religion (27.1, 2014)
  • “Gelfer’s anthology provides a breath of fresh air in the academic treatment of an incredibly significant and pervasive contemporary millennial phenomenon” — Nova Religio (16.1, 2012)
  • “this compilation of analysis, from the spiritual to the apocalyptic to the countercultural, comes just in time to help us make sense of it all” — Nexus (19.3, 2012)
  • “a welcome comparative analysis of the 2012 phenomenon” — Relegere (2.1, 2012)
  • “Gelfer’s book 2012 is key” — Australian Journal of Parapsychology (13.1, 2013).

Reader reviews:

  • “undoubtedly the best and most comprehensive contribution to the analysis of the 2012 phenomenon” — Skepsis

[Edited collection published in 2011 by Routledge]

Purchase at Amazon.com.

December 21 2012 is believed to mark the end of the thirteenth B’ak’tun cycle in the Long Count of the Mayan calendar. A growing number of people believe this date to mark the end of the world or, at the very least, the end of the world as we know it: a shift to a new form of global consciousness.

2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse brings together for the first time a range of scholarly analyses on the 2012 phenomenon grounded in various disciplines including religious studies, anthropology, Mayan studies, cultural studies and the social sciences. 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse will show readers how much of the 2012 phenomenon is based on the historical record, and how much is contemporary fiction. It will reveal to readers the landscape of the modern apocalyptic imagination, the economics of the spiritual marketplace, the commodification of countercultural values, and the cult of celebrity. This collection brings much-needed academic rigour and documentation to a subject of rapidly increasing interest to diverse religious and other communities in these crucial closing years before we experience what will be either a profound leap in the human story or, less dramatically, just another mark in time.


01: Preface (Michael D. Coe)

02: Introduction (Joseph Gelfer)

03: The 2012 Phenomenon: New Uses For An Ancient Maya Calendar (Robert K. Sitler)

04: Maya Prophecies, 2012 and the Problematic Nature of Truth (Mark Van Stone)

05: Mayanism Comes of (New) Age (John. W. Hoopes)

06: The 2012 Milieu? Hybridity, Diversity and Stigmatised Knowledge (Pete Lentini)

07: Chichén Itzá and Chicken Little: How Pseudosciences Embraced 2012 (Kristine Larsen)

08: Roland Emmerich’s 2012: A Simple Truth (Andrea Austin)

09: The 2012 Movement, Visionary Arts and Psytrance Culture (Graham St John)

10: In a Prophetic Voice: Australasia 2012 (Joseph Gelfer)

11: Approaching 2012: Modern Misconceptions vs. Reconstructing Ancient Maya Perspectives (John Major Jenkins)