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Imagined Futures 
Ezri Carlebach
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Tuesday 7 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Science fiction – SF to fans, sci-fi to critics - is the cultural form most often associated with imagined futures. Under the broader banner of speculative fiction, SF sits alongside concepts such as foresight, anticipation and envisioning, which have grown in prominence since the middle of the last century as methodologies within strategic studies, policy and academia.

Long Abstract:

SF writers and their readers have long been concerned with two main questions: what might technology enable us to do in the future? And what impact will it have on human life and society? From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818) to Kai-fu Lee and Chen Qiufan’s AI 2041: Ten Visions for our Future (2021), interest in such questions has never been greater or more widespread.

There is a thread connecting specifically anthropological engagement with these, and related questions. It runs through contributions to C.K. Ogden’s landmark To-Day and To-Morrow series (1923-31), Margaret Mead’s ‘anticipatory’ anthropology (collected in The World Ahead: An Anthropologist Anticipates the Future, 2005), efforts to tackle the ethnocentrism dominating futures thinking by, among others, Magoroh Maruyama (Cultures of the Future, 1978) and the recent work of the EASA Futures Anthropology Network (Anthropologies and Futures: Researching Emerging and Uncertain Worlds, 2017).

This workshop borrows its title from Max Saunders’ study of Ogden’s eclectic series, which blurred the already fading boundaries between imaginative writing and science and technology in the experience of modernity. The discussion will begin by asking what role anthropology plays, both in the critical analysis of imagined futures and in contributing to them. Who knows where it will go from there?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -