Uncommon Futures

David Valentine, Amelia Hassoun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, Munn (1992) argued that anthropology had neglected the future as a temporal focus. This concern continues to be echoed by anthropologists, even as a review of post-Cold War anthropology reveals that the future has become a recurrent, dominant temporality in the field. Reviewing texts from the past quarter-century that provide a diagnostic at the intersection of the anthropology of futurity and the future of anthropology, we argue that the urgency for an anthropology of the future-and concern over its neglect-presumes some continuity prior to the challenges of an uncertain "now" under constant transformation and, simultaneously, a desire for a common and open future world. Deriving this insight from the work of Black and Indigenous scholars, we suggest that an anthropology attuned to futures is most fruitful when it foregrounds decolonizing perspectives on commonality, continuity, and openness and problematizes them as the implicit grounds of anthropological futurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-260
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - Oct 21 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Anthropocene
  • commonality
  • continuism
  • decolonization
  • fugitivity
  • futurity
  • multiplicity
  • refusal
  • temporality


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