Histories of the Future

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Susan Harding, Daniel Rosenberg
Duke University Press, Jan 1, 2009 - Social Science - 374 pages
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We live in a world saturated by futures. Our lives are constructed around ideas and images about the future that are as full and as flawed as our understandings of the past. This book is a conceptual toolkit for thinking about the forms and functions that the future takes. Exploring links between panic and nostalgia, waiting and utopia, technology and messianism, prophecy and trauma, it brings together critical meditations on the social, cultural, and intellectual forces that create narratives and practices of the future. The prognosticators, speculators, prophets, and visionaries have their say here, but the emphasis is on small narratives and forgotten conjunctures, on the connections between expectation and experience in everyday life.

In tightly linked studies, the contributors excavate forgotten and emergent futures of art, religion, technology, economics, and politics. They trace hidden histories of science fiction, futurism, and millennialism and break down barriers between far-flung cultural spheres. From the boardrooms of Silicon Valley to the forests of Java and from the literary salons of Tokyo to the roadside cafés of the Nevada desert, the authors stitch together the disparate images and stories of futures past and present. Histories of the Future is further punctuated by three interludes: a thought-provoking game that invites players to fashion future narratives of their own, a metafiction by renowned novelist Jonathan Lethem, and a remarkable graphic research tool: a timeline of timelines.

Contributors. Sasha Archibald, Susan Harding, Jamer Hunt, Pamela Jackson, Susan Lepselter, Jonathan Lethem, Joseph Masco, Christopher Newfield, Elizabeth Pollman, Vicente Rafael, Daniel Rosenberg, Miryam Sas, Kathleen Stewart, Anna Tsing

 

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Contents

From the Nevada Test Site to Liberaces TwoHundredPound Suit
19
How to Make Resources in Order to Destroy Them and Then Save Them? on the Salvage Frontier
51
Messianic Politics in the Contemporary Philippines
75
Global Futures The Game
105
Electronic Memory
123
Futurists Surrealists and Molded Food
153
Sing Out Ubik
171
Access Fantasy A Story
185
New Deal Motives in New Economy Investors
231
Ghosts UFOs and a Place in the West
255
The Trouble with Timelines and A Timeline of Timelines
281
Living Prophecy at Heavens Gate
297
A Still Life
321
Bibliography
341
Notes on Contributors
355
Index
357

Subject City Machine
201
Manifesto of the Japanese Futurist Movement
225

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About the author (2009)

Daniel Rosenberg is Assistant Professor of History in the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. He specializes in the intellectual and cultural history of the French Enlightenment.

Susan Harding is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her most recent book is The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics.

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