How Speculative Storytelling Can Prepare Us for the Future

Mar 17, 2022

11:30am – 12:30pm CT

Speculative fiction — ideas about utopia and dystopia — has always been a central vehicle through which we might explore alternative futures and develop a better understanding of what kind of world we want to inhabit. In 2020 and 2021, our world confronted a global health crisis, profound social uprisings, and devastating natural disasters. In a highly polarized world, how might storytelling about the future bring communities together to share their aspirations and find common ground around shared values? Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shreshtova, the leaders of USC’s Civic Imagination Project, will reflect on their approach which applies insights from fandom, speculative fiction, and community storytelling to address today’s most pressing problems. Hear what they learned working with diverse communities: from former tobacco farmers and coal miners in Kentucky to middle-schoolers in California, from journalists in Beirut to gamers in Stockholm.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins

University of Southern California

photo of Sangita Shresthova
Sangita Shresthova

University of Southern California

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