Uncertain Futures was an interdisciplinary conference hosted by OCAD University and the Canadian Association for American Studies. It took place at OCAD University, in downtown Toronto, from October 27th to 29th, 2017. Uncertain Futures was organized by Ross Daniel Bullen and Mary Eileen Wennekers.

In her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin writes that “the future, in fiction, is a metaphor.” In uncertain times, we look to the future as a blank screen for projecting our anxieties about the fraught present and unresolved past. Our fantasies about the future reveal the ideological constructs of our contemporary moment. “Science fiction is not predictive,” Le Guin writes. “It is descriptive.”

What does the future look like for Americans and observers of American culture in the 21st century? How have past Americans used the future to address lingering uncertainties about their own eras? In an age of fractured politics, environmental devastation, neoliberal innovation, and deadly imperialism, what hope can the future hold? And what can American Studies hope to teach us about the role of uncertainty and futurity in our daily lives?

This event was free and open to the public.

OCAD University acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.