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We invite contributions with theoretical, empirical and/or methodological focus to realities emerging from the expectation of catastrophic futures, and the creative and systematic ways in which people study, guide, abandon or embrace the expectation of profound, catastrophic change.
This panel proposes to consider anthropologically the understanding and meaning of and responses to the expectation of catastrophic futures. Such future imaginings can trigger powerful affect and may demand action, directing both individual and social responses. The panel brings together research on how catastrophic futures create new identities, socialities, movements; how these channel the imagination into action - to prevent, to mitigate, to prepare and prefigure - and with what results.
Further, we would pay attention to how does this new, alternative future world that is being thought up correspond to the imaginings of catastrophes and collapse. How do fear and hope, renewal and disintegration exist side by side in the lives of individuals and movements? What are the social, cultural, creative and systematic ways in which people study, guide, abandon or embrace the expectation of profound change in the world where nothing is guaranteed? We welcome ethnographic and theoretical insights into what frames and guides futures, and how do different focuses on future - climate change, pandemics, resource exhaustion, extintions, civilisational crises - formulate different present outcomes.
We also invite methodological scrutiny of studying the future: where is the ethnographer when the people with whom they study struggle with their visions of terrible futures? What is the "curious practice" that "staying with the trouble" (Haraway 2016) could mean for the fieldworker, especially the one who has "gone native" with activism and/or subscribes to the same concerns; what possibilities - ontological, epistemological - does this hold open?