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Special Collection

Imaginaries of the Future 01: Bodies and Media

Collection launched: 12 Mar 2018

Much work in utopian studies focuses on the cognitive shifts that utopianism enacts, and how these may help us navigate routes to alternative social formations. The articles in this Special Collection draw on this tradition, whilst considering the role that embodiment and mediation play in utopianism within, against and beyond our present. Collectively, they suggest that entanglements of bodies and media (mediated bodies, embodied media) provide ways to rethink (and feel) the future through recollections, representations and retellings of pasts and abandoned alternatives.

Papers draw on a range of theoretical traditions and practices. Insights from Marxism, affect theory, queer theory, anarchism, feminism and the Black Radical Tradition are brought to bear on topics including literature, pedagogy, documentary film and autonomia.

The work presented here was supported by the Leverhulme International Research Network Imaginaries of the Future: Historicising the Present (2014-2017), which was dedicated to thinking through how we (might) think about the future. The network did not advance specific visions of the future as such, but rather sought to develop strategies for conceptualising ‘the future’ without doing violence to the bodies that might inhabit and (re)produce it. Its focus was utopian rather than futurological, and it was grounded in the knowledge that the utopian cannot be reduced to the fanciful, impossible or authoritarian. Many of the articles in this collection were presented at one of the network's six symposia, and all adhere to the spirit of the network. This collection in particular draws on papers presented at or which resonate with two of the networks' symposiums: 'Utopian Bodies and Media', held at the Montreal Marriot Delta Hotel in October 2014 in collaboration with network partner Brian Greenspan from Carleton University; and 'Utopia After the Human', held at Cornell University in April 2017 in collaboration with network partner Keith Evan Green from Cornell University.

Two further volumes are in publication with the Open Library of Humanities: Politics, Poetics, Place and Utopia at the Border.

The collection is co-edited by: Dr Nathaniel Coleman, Imaginaries of the Future Research Lead, Dr David M. Bell, Imaginaries of the Future Network Facilitator (2015-17), and Dr Adam Stock, Imaginaries of the Future Network Facilitator (2014-15).

Featured image by Noxi shared under a CC BY-NC license.