Contemporary Visions of the Future

This conference will bring together scholars from the Social Sciences and the with the goal of examining the ways in which contemporary cultural productions imagine the future. It is an attempt to better understand how our current narratives try to make sense, reflect, and react to the rapid pace of social, political, and technological changes of the last few decades. In addition to discussing some recurrent contemporary visions of utopian, dystopian, and other futures, we are also interested in looking at theoretical approaches to the study of temporality. This includes defining current temporal modes, analyzing the chronotos of our contemporary time, and understanding the time-space models or molds that are shaping narratives about the future. We are also interested in changes and developments in the genres and topos that literature developed throughout the years for presenting the future ; from dreams to prophecy, to super realism, to science fiction, and more. While this is our starting point, the conversation is not limited to these specific questions and we are open to any other investigations that would help us understand the ways communities, literatures, and cultures imagine both our local and global futures. We are using the term ‘contemporary’ as a wide category that covers works from the last few decades of the previous century to today.



Morning session

9:30 Introduction: Gisèle Sapiro (CNRS-EHESS- CESSP) and Vered Karti Shemtov (Stanford)

9:45-11:00 - Beyond human temporalities

Chair: Gisèle Sapiro (CNRS-EHESS-CESSP)

Margaret Cohen (Stanford): “The Helmeted Beholder.”

Anne Simon (CNRS-CRAL): “Other temporalities of life: zoopoetics and animal perspectivism.”

11:00-11:15 - Coffee Break

11:15- 12:30 - Literature as Resistance

Chair: Margaret Cohen (Stanford)

Vered Karti Shemtov (Stanford) & Elana Gomel (TAU): “A Sense of (No) Ending or how Literary Narratives can Refuse to write the Future.”

Marielle Macé (CNRS-EHESS-CRAL): “Our huts. Youth, precarity and imagination.”

12:30-2:00  Lunch Break


Afternoon session

14:00-15:15 - Changing paradigms

Chair: Anne Simon (CNRS-CRAL)

Emmanuel Bouju (Rennes, IUF): “Search for Tomorrow. Epimodernism and Fiduciary Paradigm.”

Amir Eshel (Stanford): “Beyond Metaphysics: Betzelem/ in the Image. On Literature and the Arts in our (Post) Secular Age.”

15:15-16:30 - The politics of the future

Chair: Vered Karti Shemtov (Stanford)

Ella Elbaz (Stanford):“The limits of Probability and the Shortsightedness of Imagination: The case of Future Jerusalem.”

Sadia Agsous (EHESS-CESSP):“Sayed Kashua’s Let it be Morning: the future of the Palestinians in Israel as a chronotop, a literary strategy?”

16:30-16:45 Coffee Break

16:45-18 - Visualizing the future

Chair: Amir Eshel (Stanford)

Smadar Sheffi (Curator): “TIME AS OBJECT, OBJECT AS TIME: On contemporary visual art projects addressing time by Maya Attoun and by Guy Goldstein.”

Kantuta Quiros et Aliocha Imhoff, “Les impatients” (video projection).


Sadia Agsous - Email:

More informations

  • Tuesday 13 March 2018 - 09:00 to 18:00
  • EHESS (Furet Amphitheater), 105 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris