Silvy Chakkalakal

“The World That Could Be”

Gender, education, Future and the project of an Anticipatory Anthropology


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This article is the revised version of my inaugural lecture given on June 27, 2017 at the Department of European Ethnology at the Humboldt University, Berlin. In line with the professorship’s areas of research of gender, education and 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 aspects: Firstly, doing and making futures are presented as topics of cultural analysis from the perspective of gender and education. Secondly, I examine the relationships between pedagogical and anthropological concepts and how a wide conception of education may enrich European Ethnology. Thirdly, I discuss how European Ethnological research practices can be understood as an Anticipatory Anthropology, which not only analyzes the doing of Futures, but also contributes to laying out and creating futures. This article focuses on the entanglements of Future/education in different social fields, such as economics (technology advertisements of the company Intel), literature (the feminist science fiction of Ursula Le Guin) and 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. It becomes evident throughout my analysis 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