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Summer School ends with “World Café”

Jul 31, 2014

The Summer School “Politics of Near Futures: Possibilities, Prophecies, Prognoses” ended with a “World Café” discussion. From 27 to 31 July, about 20 young scholars from all over the globe explored historical and contemporary ways of making sense of the future.

The participants arrived on Sunday in Heidelberg. In the afternoon, Prof. Joseph Maran, Director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe", welcomed the participants and the Summer School organisers introduced their programme. Then, the young researchers presented their individual projects in a poster session. On Monday, the participants explored the development of populations and politics of estimations in the session on demographic foresight. After the presentations by Dr. Kerstin Cuhls and Dr. Sophie Roche, they visited the Heidelberg Bahnstadt in a guided tour. During the tour, Christoph Czolbe from the City Planning Department in Heidelberg introduced the concept of the Bahnstadt. On the same day, Prof. Akhil Gupta (UCLA) gave the keynote lecture titled “The Future in Ruins: Thoughts on the Temporality of Infrastructure”.

On Tuesday, Dr. Jennie Chapman and Dr. Katja Rakow addressed to the manifold ways in which religious actors engage with apocalyptical imaginaries. The group watched the movie “The Rapture” (1991) and had a vivid discussion after the viewing session. On Wednesday, Dr. Eben Kirksey and Dr. Daniel Münster first gave presentations on future scenarios in the anthropocene concerning planetary crisis and spaces of hope. Subsequently, they organised a game about global futures. In the last session on Thursday, Dr. Kerstin von Lingen and Dr. Anthony Santoro spoke about ideas of social development regarding utopian ideals. After an extensive discussion, the participants had a final debate in a “World Café” to conclude the Summer School. Finally, the Summer School ended with a guided tour through Heidelberg.

The Summer School 2014 was coordinated by four Junior Research Group Leaders of the Cluster. Dr. Daniel Münster is group leader of research group C15 "Agrarian Alternatives". Dr. Katja Rakow leads research group B21 on "Transcultural Dynamics on Pentecostalism". Dr. Sophie Roche coordinates the research group C16 “Demographic Turn”. Dr. Kerstin von Lingen is responsible for research group A16 "Transcultural Justice".


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  • Participants and Speakers

  • Dr. Kerstin von Lingen during the discussion

  • Dr. Daniel Münster in the Futures Game

  • Dr. Katja Rakow in the Futures Game

  • Dr. Sophie Roche and Prof. Akhil Gupta