Theory for the World to Come is my foray into thinking about life during (and after) the Anthropocene. It draws on speculative fiction (Octavia Butler, Donal Dixon, Stephen Graham Jones, Orson Scott Card, John Wyndham, and more), action movies (Robocop and C.H.U.D.), and a variety of other influences (‘The Twilight Zone,’ George Clinton’s P-Funk). It’s all an attempt to think about the idioms of social theory that attempt to conceptualize the future and the challenges they face in doing so; and it’s an attempt to get people to start thinking about social theory from unlikely or suppressed sources in an effort to build a body of thought that counteracts dominant forms of social theory (which are largely diagnostic and pessimistic).

You can read a sort-of precis here, in response to a series on Speculative Anthropologies: The Necessary Tension between Science Fiction and Anthropology.

You can read an Open Access version of Theory for the World to Come here.

“Theory for the World to Come” started as a way to think about a class I was teaching, entitled “Human Futures.” That class focuses on a set of large scale social problems — overpopulation, industrialization and later deindustrialization, colonization, environmental degradation — and their proposed solutions over the course of the 18th through the early 21st centuries. You can read the most recent version of the syllabus here.

You can read reviews of Theory for the World to Come here:

LSE’s Review of Books

Los Angeles Review of Books

Political and Legal Anthropology Review

Science Fiction Studies