Facing the Future (with an eye on the past)
Some other possible titles:
Facing the future: museums, archives, therapy. Inventing a
temporally inflected historiography.
Dealing with an uncertain past in order to work in an uncertain
For a once and future archives
Part of the AHRC Care
for the Future Research Theme
"The future is certain. Only the past is unpredictable." USSR
The idea behind this program of workshops is broadly to explore
symmetries and asymmetries between futures, presents and futures
(note that all
are pluralised). So although we are at a present moment between many
pasts and unknown futures, we are also (now) part of the past of
future presents, just as we were the future of a past present. To
help anchor us and guide us through the dangers of open
philosophizing, we will concentrate on archives in general and
contentious archives in particular (archives of contentious
events/periods). And we will consider how today we can think about
future historiography – building digital archives is possibly more
difficult than conventional paper based ones.
Two background papers (on very different topics)
Zeitlyn, D. 2012. 'Divinatory logics: diagnoses and predictions
mediating outcomes', Current Anthropology, 53(5): 525-46. DOI:
Zeitlyn, D. 2012. 'Anthropology In and of the Archives: Possible
Futures and Contingent Pasts. Archives as Anthropological
Surrogates', Annual Review of Anthropology, 41: 461–80. DOI:
Archival media from the Past for the Future? A Clay Tablet for
Is clay viable as a digital storage medium?
As little experiment I have made a digitally encoded clay tablet
in the hope it might be readable in six thousand years time
Workshop 1 S.T. Muna Foundation,
Yaoundé, Cameroon. April 2013
Workshop 2 Wolfson College, Oxford, UK.
Workshop 3 Wolfson College, Oxford, UK.
1 A new online journal <Traces of Record>.
2 A speical issue of the journal <History and Anthropology>