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Speculating Future: A Syllabus


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As part of its current issue on the theme of “Science/Fictions,” The New Inquiry has assembled an impressively thorough and radical syllabus on speculative narratives, technological utopias, and futures worth fighting for. Entitled “Speculating Futures,” the syllabus consists of twelves “sessions” with themes like “We Aren’t the World: Postwestern Society & Race” and “Synthetic Freedom: The Post-Work Society,” and includes texts in all genres from the likes of Donna Haraway, Samuel R. Delany, and Ursula K. Le Guin. You can read a snippet of the intro to the syllabus below, and check out the full syllabus here.

Speculating Futures looks at past speculative narratives, like those of Ursula K. Le Guin, and past attempts at creating technological utopia, like Chile’s Cybersyn. These readings examine the shortcomings that prevented these visions from being fully realized and how they may have been limited or exclusionary. These texts also tie these visions to the contemporary issues/present dystopias that need to be addressed in subsequent utopian imaginaries. To paraphrase Gibson, “Utopia and dystopia are here, they’re just unevenly distributed.” Feeling like there’s a future is vital for moving through the present, so we’ll also envision our own utopian futures to work towards.

Image: Viktoria Modesta, self-described “Bionik Woman.” Via The New Inquiry.