Silvy Chakkalakal

„The World That Could Be“

Gender, Education, Future and the Project of an Anticipatory Anthropology


Buy article


This article is the revised version of my inaugural lecture given on June 27, 2017 at the Department of European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Following the professorship’s research areas of gender, education and the future, I would like to elaborate the anticipatory, imaginative and transformative (“educational”) potential of European Ethnology. In a broad outline, which sketches out future research topics and questions, I inquire into the following three aspects: Firstly, doing and making futures are presented as topics of cultural analysis from the perspective of gender and education. Secondly, I show the relations between pedagogical and anthropological concepts and how a wide conception of education may enrich European Ethnology. And thirdly, I discuss how European-Ethnological research practices can be understood as an Anticipatory Anthropology, which analyzes the making of futures, but is also part of laying out and creating futures. This article focuses on the entanglements of future/education on different social fields, such as that of economics (technological advertisement by the company Intel), the literary field (the feminist science fiction of Ursula Le Guin) and the field of early Cultural Anthropology as Future Research (the collaborations of Boasian anthropologists and the pedagogue John Dewey). Here, I am interested in how time and temporality are made, practiced and imagined and how temporal orders are created. Throughout my analysis, it becomes evident that the nexus of future/education and future-making takes effect through the dialectic relation of the normative and the exploratory.

gender, education, future, anticipatory anthropology, time and temporality