Anthropology of the future and the future of anthropology
This year’s Anthropology Day will be about FUTURES, focusing on the anthropology of the future and the future of anthropology. The future is an emerging field for anthropology. It can be situated in the turn from “dark anthropology” toward the good and hope (Ortner 2016). But it also stems from anxiety over our troubled present and the global challenges of the Anthropocene, which breeds a sense of urgency to constructively work towards a sustainable future. Because what we hope for, aspire, fear, and can imagine are thoroughly mediated by culture (Appadurai 2013), anthropology is especially suited to create a richer understanding of the affective orientations that shape shared and different notions of the future: from fears and anxieties, to aspiration, anticipation, expectation, speculation, desire, and destinies (Bryant and Knight 2018).
What can anthropologists contribute to (the study of) the future? How does our field relate to the future oriented challenges of our time? What is the future? What could it be? Where is it and who defines it? What futures are lost? What futures do anthropologists imagine and strive for? What are the implicit and explicit agendas and ambitions for the future in the work of anthropologists (e.g., decolonization, sustainability, equality)? Which alliances do we forge in the process of making desired futures real? What is the future of anthropology? Is anthropology becoming more relevant in the Anthropocene? What is the future job market for anthropologists? How do anthropologists relate to increasing pressure in higher education in the Netherlands and elsewhere?
The topic of The Day will be introduced by Prof.Dr. Rebecca Bryant (Utrecht University) with a keynote lecture on the anthropology of the future. We will close the day with a plenary panel discussion on the ways by which anthropologists increasingly claim a role in debates about the future of the Netherlands. In between there will be an exciting program of workshops, labs, and papers to take you to the future and back! Save the date!