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Political Futures Conference  Add To Calendar

Political Futures Conference

October 12-13 2018

Room 302, Tower, Student Center East

[Please register here

This conference explores the relation between conceptual or aesthetic work and future political organizations, institutions, and affiliations. Our aim is to practice the power of the engaged humanities to envision futures, while also reflexively exploring the benefits, challenges, and limits of future-projection. Questions that we want to consider include: what aesthetic and theoretical modes and discourses are adequate to the task of political imagining? How do the resources of critical theory both enable and challenge future-directed thought? Why have pessimism and anti-futurism been frequent trajectories in theories of race and sexuality? How does future thinking depend upon or depart from presentism? What are the advantages and disadvantages of “utopian” thinking? When, where, and how is utopian thinking happening? How does the question of the future reframe the theory/practice divide? To what degree do certain theoretical models enable or disable the practical work of apportioning resources, addressing inequalities, or redressing injuries? How valid are conventional distinctions between revolution and evolution/change/progress?

[ Please see Reading List here]

[Please register here]  


October 12, 2018 from 10 AM - 5:30 PM

9am-10am Breakfast, Welcome

Reading Group: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men in Basic Political Writings, ed. and trans. Donald A. Cress. Hackett, 2011. [Discussion Leaders: Anthony Laden (UIC) and Yann Robert (UIC)]

12pm-1pm Lunch

1pm-3pm  Futures on the Ground

Ralph Cintrón (UIC)
Anthony Laden (UIC)
Caroline Levine (Cornell University)
Karuna Mantena (Yale University)
Jennifer Nash (Northwestern University)

3:30pm-5:30pm Resources and Resourcefulness

Angela Cooley (Minnesota State University)
Molly Doane (UIC)
Kaveh Ehsani (DePaul University)
Rachel Havrelock (UIC)
Imre Szeman (University of Waterloo)


October 13, 2018 from 10 AM - 3 PM

9am-10am Breakfast

10am-12pm Future Critique

Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
Madhu Dubey (UIC)
Lee Edelman (Tufts University)
Roderick Ferguson (UIC)
Anne-Lise François (UC Berkeley)

12pm-1pm Lunch

1pm-3pm Institutions: Then, Now, and Later

Shiben Banerji (School of the Art Institute)
Stephen G. Engelmann (UIC)
Robert Meister (UC Santa Cruz)
Christopher Newfield (UC Santa Barbara)
Yue Zhang (UIC)



  • Date(s): Friday, 10/12 10:00 AM to Friday, 10/12 5:30 PM
  • Address: 750 S Halsted
  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email: lvavra@uic.edu
  • Website: http://huminst.uic.edu
  • Phone: (312) 996-6354
Visit Us:
Institute for the Humanities (MC206)
701 South Morgan, Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
Chicago, IL 60607-7040

Phone (312) 996-6352   Fax (312) 996-2938
Email huminst@uic.edu

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