Prefigurative Humanities

In this article, I propose that a future-oriented project of prefigurative humanities will provide a much-needed framework for fostering alternative ways of approaching the past beyond history. I consider whether such future-oriented humanities, which are guided by the idea of critical hope and epistemic justice (understood as the inclusion of knowledges created in “epistemic peripheries”), might provide critical tools for imagining different scenarios of the future, as manifested in realistic and responsible utopias. The prototypes of such utopias might be found in art, film, literature, and history as well as in real, everyday life. Following Ruth Levitas's approach to utopia and Ariella Azoulay's project of potential history, I also consider how utopia might function not only as a goal but as a method to revive more positive thinking about the future.