Possible futures: imagination and speculation for resisting in the Anthropocene 

Renato Sztutman (Departamento de Antropologia e Centro de Estudos Ameríndios - USP)

May 30, 2023, 15h00

CES | Lisbon


The focus of this presentation is the place of imagination and speculation in devising responses to the crisis set in motion by the Anthropocene, a geological epoch in which humanity has become the predominant force, putting the integrity of the planet at risk. Answers that require thinking about possible futures. By imagination I mean the ability to create or fabricate from lived situations. I do not take imagination as synonymous with fantasy, as an imaginary that is opposed to the real. By speculation I mean the ability to think of possibilities, to list possible worlds. It is an operation engaged in thinking what things could be, which starts from a "what if..." I do not take speculation as a totally abstract reasoning that loses footing with the facts, as pure contemplation, but as a reasoning that wonders about what might become real. To pursue these questions, I will follow the reflection of different authors, who are situated, each in their own way, on the border between anthropology, philosophy, science and technology studies and fiction (there included especially literature and film). A point that will be especially illuminated is the fact that these authors signal an interesting connection between the literary universe of science fiction and the mythological narratives of indigenous peoples, for whom the time of catastrophes have begun a long time ago. 

Bio note

Renato Sztutman | Holds a MA (2000) and PhD (2005) in Social Anthropology at USP, field of indegenous ethnology. He is a researcher at Centro de Estudos Ameríndios (CEstA) and Laboratório de Imagem e Som em Antropologia (LISA). He was one of the founders and co-edited , between 1997 and 2007, the journal Sexta-Feira. His areas of expertise are ethnology and indegenous history (focusing on the amerindian cosmopolicies issue), anthropological theory and anthropology & cinema.

Activity within the project  ECO | Animals and Plants in Cultural Productions about the Amazon River Basin (ERC Consolidator Grant nº 101002359)