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Accepted Paper:

The Ancient as Modern: Use of Indigenous Totems to Reshape Narratives for Technology of the Future  
Grace Andrews

Paper short abstract:

Can we anticipate the possible future by better understanding the indigenous frameworks of the past? By adopting an ancient lens, we can fill gaps in the historical records with the narratives, totems, and systems of peoples often forgotten by modernity and technology to model the future accurately.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores Totems as a literal and symbolic anchor point informing the evolution of technology into a new era of modernity. With concepts such as afro-futurism, indigi-futurism moving to the forefront of the public domain, how do movements that seek to bring forth the ideas, beliefs, and frameworks of a distant past begin to shape how we anticipate the future? This question presents us with the opportunity to look at totems and symbology with an anthropological lens that strips away the anglocentric position of the academic study. By identifying and adopting the value of native traditions via modern technical advancements, we radically change how we model and contextualize the future. We see a parabolic interpretation of this in the Adinkra symbol and Twi word sankofa, "return and go fetch it," which signifies going into the past to retrieve lost knowledge and ushering it into the future. This seemingly unobtrusive symbol denoted in two forms - an animal totem (bird) and an artistic rendering of a heart - signifies a timeless concept of future building that guides many tribes. It has found its way into the Civil Rights Movement for Black Liberation around the globe, and the symbol rings clear across many timelines. As technology presents itself as a new landscape, ancient traditions find themselves at the intersection of change and annihilation. Yet, if we use the wisdom and systems that have always existed, we stand a chance at rewriting a future that is already outdated--for the ancient is modern, again.

Panel P27a
Life Itself. Anthropology and Anticipation.
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -