The Future of History: From Cliodynamics to Degenerative Dystopia, via Science Fiction

17:00 - 19:00 | 10 December 2019 | Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge.

gloknos is delighted to welcome Dr Amanda Rees (University of York) to present as part of our annual lecture series.

Attempts to turn history into a quantitative, predictive science have recently been much in the news – but such approaches depend on treating the past as a reliable guide to the future, and assuming that 'human nature' (whatever that means) will remain pretty much unchanged. This approach sits uneasily alongside other claims that the pace and influence of cultural-technical change is now so great that it will fundamentally alter both the scope of society and the shape of humanity. In this talk, we will use science fiction (in particular, the work of HG Wells, Isaac Asimov, Alistair Reynolds and Jodi Taylor) to explore the relationship between these two perspectives, and to consider what lessons, if any, we can learn for the future of history.

Dr Amanda Rees has published widely on the history of the field sciences, on the history and sociology of the relationship between humans and other animals, and on the history of prehistory. Her current research reflects an interest in the history of the idea of the future, with a focus on science fiction and futures in literature.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so please email to reserve your seat. Please be aware that we will take an audio recording of this event, which may include any questions and responses delivered by the audience.