The WiGiP/GiP Conference on Intercultural Philosophy. Demarginalising Futures: rethinking embodiment, community, and culture

February 19, 2021 - February 20, 2021
Gesellschaft für Interkulturelle Philosophie


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University of British Columbia



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The WiGiP/GiP

Conference on Intercultural Philosophy

Demarginalising Futures:

rethinking embodiment, community, and culture


Techno-utopias, dystopias, climatic eschatologies, and various other representations of possible futures entangle themselves in the different imaginaries which surround us in our day to day lives and are generated by politics, media, or philosophy. Such narratives about the future are more than often centred on European concepts of technological progress and ignore representations of future stemming from marginalised political or societal actors. We wish therefore to promote an increase of philosophical and multidisciplinary attention to the above marginalised narratives of the future. To this scope, we invite proposals from a broad horizon of backgrounds on the main topic of ways to represent future societies in a demarginalising way. We will refer to all such mechanisms as ‘futurisms’, thus aligning ourselves with postcolonial trends in aesthetics that reframe the ‘eurocentric’ term futurism in a demarginalising, decolonial way.

The term ‘futurism’ is usually used in post-colonial contexts to refer to certain sets of aesthetic practices that aim to re-appropriate the discourses of science fiction and technology from the point of view of those who were historically excluded from the narratives of civilizational progress (see Dillon 2012; Newman Fricke 2019). Examples of such movements are ‘afro-futurism’, ‘chicanx-futurism’, ‘Asia-futurism’ (including the so-called ‘sino-futurism’), ‘gulf-futurism’, etc.1

Hence, although the term ‘futurism’ in all its variants has been employed mostly in the field of cultural studies, we think that philosophy should also take this opportunity to reflect on the way in which the narratives of future and progress can be re-thought from other perspectives. Our representations of the future are usually accompanied by certain notions of technological growth, political participation, and cultural internationalization. These types of representations lead however to dichotomies in the way we envision futures: our imaginaries are populated with AI-human interactions, cybernetic gadgets, experiences of augmented reality, but also environmental catastrophes, mass-surveillance anxieties and new forms of migration and ethnical persecution, among others. We find ourselves therefore in front of increasingly conflicting representations of the future which pressingly challenge us to critically evaluate and re-appropriate these imaginaries.

Subaltern cultures have been systematically excluded from the ‘future’, being instead portrayed as technologically and socially underdeveloped. Something similar happens with their philosophies, which usually appear as taxonomical oddities classified as ‘wisdom’, ‘sageness’, ‘thought’, ‘popular culture’ or ‘religion’, and often play a marginal role in the mainstream representation of future societies. This seems paradoxical since it is precisely in places like the global south where we find political initiatives that try to marry ecological sustainability with political and economic solidarity in creative and innovative ways. For this reason, we would like to address these problems from the expanded perspective of these marginalised futurisms, but also engage in a critical assessment of futurism and all representations of future - does it do justice to subaltern voices or does it promote a dichotomy-laden politics of identity? 


This conference is a joint effort by the Wiener Gesellschaft für interkulturelle Philosophie (WiGiP) and the Gesellschaft für interkulturelle Philosophie (GiP).

Dr. Fernando Wirtz -CIIS Postdoctoral Fellow and Treasurer of GiP

Dr. Adrian Razvan Sandru - Postdoctoral Researcher at the Champalimaud Center for the Research of the Unknown, Lisbon

Univ.-Doz. DDr. Mădălina Diaconu, University of Vienna, editor-in-chief of “polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren”

For any questions, please direct your inquiries at the following address: [email protected]

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January 31, 2021, 4:00am CET

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