21 November 2013, Opening Session of Working Group B

Working Group B "Multiple Futures through Time" opened on Thursday, 21st November at 18.30 at the Bayreuth Academy. A short introduction to the Working Group theme will be followed by a lecture by Ottmar Ette (University of Potsdam, Literary Studies, Member of the Academy's Advisory Board) on 'World Literature / Literatures of the World. The Challenge of TransArea Studies'. Members of Sub-project 1 "Histories of the Futures", facilitator of this Working Group, will take over the introductions and chair. Professor Ette will present thoughts from a current book project, focusing on Erich Auerbach's "Mimesis" and his "Philology andWeltliteratur" towards general questions of future concepts that can be situated in the context of a 'plurilogical philology'.

22 November 2013, Workshop: Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1750s) -Visions between Slavery and Enlightenment, between Europe and Africa. More

28 November 2013, Discussion on Eisenstadt, Multiple Modernities

On 28th November, the Working Group session discussed Eisenstadt’s concept of ‘Multiple Modernities’. As a part of an international academic debate and a point of departure from Weberian scholarly tradition, the text provides a useful theoretical background for comparing different views of modernities while remaining open to new possibilities and debates about the future. More

5 December 2013, “The Future We Want”

The three presentations were related by a common thread of the variety of dreams of independence. In Kenya, the mainstream elite imagined a future where economic development and independence would solve emerging political problems. In Sierra Leone, rural labourers and ex-slaves protested against the collusion of the colonial powers with corrupt chiefs in the handover of power. In Somalia, a vision of Italian Somalia was promoted to counter notions of progressive British rule. More

12-13 December 2013, Workshop: Sharing/Dividing Futures

Multiple visions of the future co-exist in all Sub-project groups – these are often both contradictory and entangled. Visions of the future of nations may bear little resemblance to ideas about the future of more local communities. Ambitious universalist schemes for ‘the future of Africa’ are often rejected by African communities. But these oppositions and contradictions elide the ways in which people share and exchange visions of the future, as well as drawing on past visions to renegotiate and adapt them to the present. This workshop aims to look behind the curtains of universalist claims and sweeping assumptions, to highlight the diversity of ideas of the future. More

9 January 2014, 4:00-6:00pm, Hope and Mobility in Forming Futurities

16-17 January 2014, Workshop: Changing Futures through Time

History and future, rather than being antonyms, draw strongly on each other. In recent years, historians have discarded teleological conceptions of ‘inevitable progress’ in favour of examining the variety of historical possibilities; particularly a new literature has grown around the ‘failure’ of various schemes of the future. Africa and the African diaspora have turned out to be particularly stimulating fields for these much wider debates. This Workshop takes these debates as its starting point to enquire, across a range of different disciplines, into how to understand the diversity and changeability of narratives of what the future will bring. Click here for more Information, to read a few Abstracts or meet the Participants.

23 January 2014, 4:00-6:00pm, Harvesting the Future

The aim of this session is to explore the link between “Multiple Future through Time” and “Visions of Nature”. The notion “Visions in Time” implies that the past already contains multiple futures and the future may contain multiple pasts, i.e. different interpretations of the current “Now” turned into past. Future and past are two perspectives relative to a “Now”. We will consider the inside-outside perspective of modern subjects as two corresponding spatial perspectives. Hence we suggest modelling spatial perspectives in the light of temporal ones, rather than the conventional other way round. More 

30 January 2014, 4:00-6:00pm, Sharing our Tomorrows

This session will allow discussion of an African Diaspora thinker whose influence and ideas about the future have had influence beyond the North American or African contexts. Malcolm X’s visions for the future of African Americans, Africans and of humanity have been taken up by a number of liberationist groups. Distinctively African or African Diaspora visions of the future and views of “human rights” inform the research of everyone at the Academy, by zooming in on one particular thinker we hope to open discussion about how we research these visions and analyse texts and how we could place our research and analysis in another angle – decentering common beliefs and methodologies and giving way to more questioning, unstable and open forms of thinking a future world.   More

6 February 2014, 4:00-6:00pm, Presentation of a paper by Prof. Dr. Rafael Nuñez