Prof. Jamie L. Pietruska (Department of History, Rutgers University–New Brunswick): Towards a New Framework for Historicizing the Future
Abstract This lecture proposes a new framework for historicizing the future during a present moment of intersecting global crises: accelerating climate crisis, pandemic, geopolitical and economic instability, heightened risk of nuclear conflict, erosion of democracy, and rising tides of ethno-nationalism. In this framework, the future is not an abstract, conceptual category or temporal frame but rather a set of material and epistemic practices that do not simply reflect a particular cultural imagination of the future but actively create it. These future-oriented practices are part of the predictive epistemologies of the everyday, a form of knowledge-making based on the lived experience of anticipation in daily life. Amid such uncertainty regarding our planetary future, historical perspectives on futures past might illuminate our present moment and offer ways to think about envisioning and creating a more equitable, just, and sustainable world to live in.