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Histories of the Future


Histories of the Future Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 cafandeacute;s 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


An anthropologically based interdisciplinary collection on sites and projections of imagined futures from conspiracy theorists to technological dystopias.

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1. Introduction: Histories of the Future / Daniel Rosenberg and Susan Harding 1

2. A Notebook on Desert Modernism: From the Nevada Test Site to Liberace's Two-Hundred-Pound Suit / Joseph Masco 19

3. How to Make Resources in Order to Destroy Them (and Then Save Them?) on the Salvage Frontier / Anna Tsing 51

4. The Cell Phone and the Crowd: Messianic Politics in the Contemporary Philippines / Vicente L. Rafael 75

Interlude I. Global Futures: The Game / Anna Tsing and Elizabeth Pollman 105

5. Electronic Memory / Daniel Rosenberg 123

6. All That Is Solid Melts into Sauce: Futurists, Surrealists, and Molded Food / Jamar Hunt 153

7. Sing Out Ubik / Pamela Jackson 171

Interlude II. Access Fantasy: A Story / Jonathan Lethem 185

8. Subject, City, Machine / Miryam Sas 202

Interlude III. Manifesto of the Japanese Futurist Movement / Hirato Renkichi (Translated by Miryam Sas) 225

9. The Future of the Old Economy: New Deal Motives in New Economy Investors / Christopher Newfield 231

10. Why Rachel Isn't Buried at Her Grave: Ghosts, UFOs, and a Place in the West / Susan Lepselter 255

Interlude IV. The Trouble with Timelines and a Timeline of Timelines / Daniel Rosenberg and Sasha Archibald 281

11. Living Prophecy at Heaven's Gate / Susan Harding 297

12. Trauma Time: A Still Life / Kathleen Stewart 321

Bibliography 341

Notes on Contributors 355

Index 357

Product Details

Rosenberg, Daniel
Harding, Susan
Rosenberg, Daniel
Harding, Susan
Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt
Harding, Susan
Rosenberg, Daniel
Masco, Joseph
Duke University Press
Future Studies
Sociology-Future Studies
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
136 illustrations
9.25 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Future Studies
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

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Product details 376 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822334736 Reviews:
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An anthropologically based interdisciplinary collection on sites and projections of imagined futures from conspiracy theorists to technological dystopias.
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