Discussing the study of the future in anthropology
Paper Panel | Anthropology Day 2019 |

This panel will focus on the theme of the Anthropology Day, futures. 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 2019).

The papers in this panel contribute to the study of the future in anthropology in diverse ways discussing dementia and the anticipation of unwanted futures, frontiers and economies of anticipation, and multispecies anthropology and speculative culture. Combined, the papers highlight different future-oriented challenges of our time and the varieties of ways in which people, including anthropologists, make sense of these.


Pioneers, Emerging Land-Use Frontiers and Economies of Anticipation in Northern Mozambique – Angela Kronenburg (Université catolique de Louvain),

Anticipating an Unwanted Future: Euthanasia and Dementia in the Netherlands – Natashe Lemos Dekker (UvA / Leiden University),

The Future of Anthropology is Ecological – Michelle Geraerts (UU alumni)

Moderator and organizer: Nikkie Wiegink (ABv/Utrecht University)