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Used futures, silenced present and recreated pasts: participatory methods of archiving the past and the immediate present 
Kwamou Eva Feukeu (Max Planck-Institut for Comparative and Private International Law)
Martins Kwazema (Abo Akademi University)
Geci Karuri-Sebina (University of Witwatersrand)
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Kwamou Eva Feukeu (Max Planck-Institut for Comparative and Private International Law)
Abius Akwaake (University of Turku)
History (x) Decoloniality & Knowledge Production (y) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S55
Friday 2 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Imposed and alternative temporalities reflected in used futures and urgent/immediate presents have been shaping the future in Africa without the appropriate pedagogical methodologies. This participatory workshop experiments how to weave the past and the present into futures research.

Long Abstract:

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Futures Studies focus on why and how humans use the future. Reflecting the recent methodological shifts in Futures Studies towards the Discipline of Anticipation, this workshop represents an elementary step in efforts to localize anticipation in ways that could infuse sustainability into policy design for challenges peculiar to Africa.

Like everywhere else, the future in Africa does not exist in the present. Only anticipations do, with which the continent is highly familiar, alternating between Afro-optimism and Afro-pessimism, colonial civilizing projects and capitalist development scenarios on its present and future potential. What these different futures have in common is a form of replicability of colonial mechanisms: reproducing the past in present imaginaries of tomorrow, hence forming "used futures" or familiar "past-presents".Several futures research initiatives have been employed as precursors to policy design aimed at eliminating developmental challenges, e.g. Africa 2063, or Côte d'Ivoire 2040. While these methodologies have resulted in grandiose futures scenarios for several aspects of African society, they seem to neglect the methodological implications of the distinct cosmological and ethnopolitical character of challenges emerging from Africa., starting with an actual documentation of temporalities in postcolonial Africa.

The workshop attempts to develop an experimental anticipatory model that weaves the past and the present into efforts to investigate the future in Africa. The panel will immerse participants in Collective Intelligence Knowledge Creation sessions to ponder on “futures for learning about the past” in efforts to ratify the complexity of the present and anticipate sustainable futures for Africa.