Speculative Futures is the 2022-23 theme for the Center for Ethics.Our contemporary moment is shaped by the pressures of multiple, simultaneous crises: between the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing crises of political legitimacy, growing economic inequality, the onslaughts of white supremacy and xenophobia and the looming threat of irrevocable climate disaster, the future seems intractable and murky.

Longstanding questions about what the future holds are haunted by doubts and the scale of systemic issues. Fears about scarcity and the changing world seem to hamper opportunities for solidarity and coalition-building. At the same time, this juncture presents an opportunity to reimagine the futures we want and how we might get there. In thinking about the future as something speculative — and something we might speculate about — we might collectively resist fatalism and think instead about the world we hope to create. We might think about how art helps us envision alternative possibilities, how native and evolving technologies change the ways we relate to each other and the world, how philosophy hazards rearrangements that could unlock future ways of being and knowing and how shifts in forms of political engagement offer us new opportunities for resistance.


Center Director
Mark Stein, professor of history

Program Directors:
Archana Kaku, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow, political science 

Dawn Lonsinger, associate professor of English