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?
(Source: University of Illinois at Chicago)