Anthropological Association of Ireland


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Conference Call for Papers



Predictive Texts: Imagining the Future

September 21-23, 2017

Queen's University Belfast


The arts and the liberal arts have always had an eye on the future. From classical works of dystopic fiction to surrealist artistic visions, imaginings and simulations of the world’s future has always been central to humanity's hopes and fears. Works of fiction can be considered a way of dealing with an uncertain future, offering opportunities for the creator and observer to explore the unknown. 

In the creative and liberal traditions, time, intellectual endeavour and resources have been exhaustively spent dealing with the future. Be that in countless anthropological reflections on cultural transformations, or what the future holds for enclaves of cultural traditions in the Anthropocene, or to revolutionary world simulation in digital mediums, the future has always been a central motivational cog in a spinning wheel.

This conference will give presenters the opportunity to look back on classical fiction and non-fiction predictive texts and reflect on the accuracy of prediction. This classical beginning raises the question: in imagining the future, do we set a course for that future? As liberal and creative arts are often responsible for imagining the future, then are we responsible for that future? As anthropologists, if we use our skills as ethnographers to understand the needs of the future for the development of goods and services through long-term engagement with participants, where does our responsibility begin and end? If those in the liberal arts and creative arts have their finger on the pulse of cultural trends, what is our part in that future? 

Through Predictive Texts presenters will have an opportunity to reflect on the creative process and ask, is it possible to imagine a world, its inhabitants, codes of behaviour, soundscapes, rationality, without simply re-imagining or pirating from the diversity of the cultures present or vanished? This conference invites those in the creative process - authors, poets, musicians, artist, gamers, role-players and others - and asks them to consider is it possible to escape the boundaries of cultural existence and create new world orders? We encourage presenters to explore a bricolage of theories and vistas from early classical fiction to contemporary creations. Within the digital age Predictive Texts will offer both academics and non-academics time to reflect on the role culture has in forming or hindering imaginings of the world.


Papers are invited under the following themes, but not exclusively:

  • Predictive Texts: Classical Imaginings of the Future
  • Mind Box: Cultural and Philosophical Imaginings of the Future
  • Dystopic Visions: Near future fiction, ecological and surrealist visions
  • Writing anthropological futures
  • Digital Futures - big data, security, AI
  • Sound and Vision
  • Ethnographic fiction
  • Writing anthropology 


Participants are invited from all disciplines. Traditional presentations are invited, but new modes of showcasing your work can be accommodated with advance notice. Please give advance notice of the technologies needed to present non-traditional formats.

Traditional presentations: please submit a 350-word abstract of your presentation. Non-traditional presentations: please submit a brief description of your project, and any other multi-media format - recorded oral presentation, videos, graphics, photographs, games, etc.

Please submit your abstract or description to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible, but no later than July 23rd, 2017. Please address any queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

News Flash

 Anthropology at Queens gains international support

International Organisations have come together in a show of support for continuing Anthropology at Queens University Belfast. Links to each of the issued letters are avaiable below:


IUAES, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Open Letter to QUB


WCAA, World Council of Anthropological Associations Open Letter to QUB


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