Knowing Tomorrow: Twenty-First Century Native North American Archives of Futurity

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Framing Indigenous people as members of bygone cultures is, unfortunately, not a thing of the past. From James Earle Fraser’s famous sculpture End of the Trail to James Cameron’s Avatar, Indigenous American cultures have long been displaced into nostalgic obsolescence. These images, while widespread, do not go unchallenged, and Indigenous cultural expressions abound with imaginaries of the future in textual narratives, digital media, visual arts, and public spaces, such as museums or websites. From pre-contact prophecies to contemporary Indigenous video games, writers, artists, and curators such as Gerald Vizenor, Elizabeth LaPensée, Skawennati, and Danis Goulet have contributed to a vast corpus of Indigenous futurity that defies colonial temporality, empowers alternative modes of knowledge, envisions sustainable societies and thus harbors highly relevant cultural capital for designs of a global future, especially in times of trans/national shifts, social division, and climate change. Dedicated to Indigenous North American engagements of temporality and the future in museums and digital environments, Knowing Tomorrow explores revisions of hegemonic historiography and literary canons and seeks to map broader understandings of temporality and futurity within American studies at large.

Organization and Contact:

Kristina Baudemann and Prof. Dr. Birgit Däwes
Europa-Universität Flensburg
Auf dem Campus 1
24943 Flensburg