Designs of Tomorrow: Conference Program

When we are in the throes of major crises, from the global pandemic to a pending climate apocalypse, thinking about a different tomorrow may feel impossible. Designing alternative futures has become one of the central cultural tasks of the twenty-first century, and Indigenous North American writers, visual artists, curators, comedians, film makers, video game designers, and web developers are at the forefront of this movement. From pre-contact stories to contemporary science fiction, Indigenous cultures abound with visions of the future as sites of "survivance" (Gerald Vizenor). While settler colonialist imaginaries of progress have, for the longest time, strategically displaced Native cultures into a fixed, containable past, Indigenous literatures and cultures not only successfully defy these mechanisms of Othering but offer sustainable variants of futurity in powerful networks of transnational exchange.

This symposium brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from Canada, Europe, and the United States in order to explore representations of a coming world in Indigenous fiction, drama, film, visual arts and digital media, social networks, museums, and performance spaces. We hope to initiate long-standing transnational dialogues on futurity and alternative versions of tomorrow that may serve as exemplary sites of empowering cultural diversity and non-Western systems of knowledge in the interest of economic, ecological, and social sustainability.

May 16, 2022

9:00-9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction

Peter Heering (Vice President, EUF)
Birgit Däwes and Kristina Baudemann (EUF)

9:15-10:00 a.m.
Keynote Address

Gerald Vizenor (UC Berkeley), "Nostalgia and Futurity: Totemic Stories with No Future Tense"

Introduction: Kristina Baudemann (EUF)

10:30-11:30 a.m.
Writing and Performing Futurity

Diane Glancy (Macalester College), "OUTWENT: Writing as Survivance -- A Creative Response to Indigenous Futurity"

Randy Reinholz (San Diego State University), "The Future of Indigenous Theatre: From Concept to Production"

Jonah Winn-Lenetsky (IAIA), "Imagine a Sovereign Future: The Power of Language to Perform Medicine in Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Fairly Traceable"

Chair: Birgit Däwes (EUF)

1:00-2:00 p.m.

Gesa Mackenthun (Rostock), "Imperial Time, Planting Time. Colonial and Indigenous Temporalities and Futurities in North America"

Hartmut Lutz (Greifswald), "‘We walk into the future backwards.’ Thoughts about land-based concepts of time"

Chair: Kerstin Knopf (Bremen)

2:30-3:30 p.m.
Transmedial Futures

Ryan Singer (Albuquerque), "The Artwork of Ryan Singer: History, Development, and Indigenous Futurism"

Ellen Marie Jensen (Sámi Allaskuvla), "To the Ones who Return to Dálve Sagje: Multi-media Stories of Coastal Sámi Continuance"

Chair: Laura Jungblut (EUF)

4:00-5:30 p.m.
Digital Futures

Jason Lewis (Concordia University, Montréal), "Future Imaginaries of Indigenous AI"

Frank Newton (Mainz), "Imagining Possible Futures: Emergence Magazine and the Language Keepers Project"

Deborah Madsen (Geneva), "From Angry Birds to Animikii: Survivance as Procedural Rhetoric in Elizabeth LaPensée’s Thunderbird Strike (2017)"

Chair: Karsten Fitz (Passau)

6:30 p.m.
Conference Dinner

May 17, 2022

9:00-10:30 a.m.
Museum Futures

heather ahtone (First Americans Museum, Oklahoma City), "Indigenous Curation as Indigenous Futurisms at First Americans Museum"

Birgit Däwes (EUF), "‘Continuity and Change’: Seminole Museums as Archives of Indigenous Memory" (AT)

Ute Marxreiter (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), "Unlearning for the Future: How can Museum Education Contribute to the Decolonization of Ethnological Museums?"

Chair: Johannes Schmid (EUF)

10:45-11:45 a.m.
Storied Futures: Language and Literature

Laura Castor (UiT Tromsø), "'Please don’t mourn me': Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Futurity Meets Trauma in Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies (2020)"

Sabine N. Meyer (Bonn), "The Henceforward: Envisioning Black-Indigenous Futurities in the 21st Century"

Chair: Andrew Erickson (EUF)

12:00-1:00 p.m.

Stephen Graham Jones

Introduction: Bethany Jordan Webster-Parmentier (EUF)

3:00-6:00 p.m.
Meet the Speakers: Boat Ride on Flensburg Fjord


Dr. Kristina Baudemann and

Prof. Dr. Birgit Däwes

Europa-Universität Flensburg
Auf dem Campus 1
24943 Flensburg

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support by the German Research Foundation / Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Europa-Universität Flensburg.