SANT2021 - Anthropology of the Future: The social imagination of hopes, utopias and the end of the world


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 100/100

Course content

How do you think about the future? Which images come to your mind? A secular utopian future or religiously based apocalypse? Images of continuous technological development? Of man-induced ecological disasters? Of war? Of eternal peace and emancipation? Of an eternal paradise or hell? In this course, you will analyse the anthropological toolkit in relationship with time in general and the future in particular. You will explore, from an anthropological perspective, some of the multiple ways in which different societies and at different times have imagined their futures. By bringing these futures as anthropological objects of study, you will be able to analyse and compare them, identify their different genres and their structures, their functions as well as their internal logics and predicaments. You will explore how these imaginations impinge on everyday lives, and how they are used as means for social mobilization, legitimation and de-legitimation of social action and even for entertainment.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of the course you will:

  • have gained a broad knowledge of how different societies and in different periods construct images of their futures.
  • have obtained broad knowledge of the content and cultural specificity of a variety of empirical imaginations of the future, and you will have explored some of their different genres and styles.
  • have gained a broad knowledge of conceptual tools, concepts, and theories for the anthropological and social scientific study of temporalities in general, and of the future in particular.
  • develop the ability to anthropologically identify, analyse, interpret, and critically evaluate imaginations of the future, as well as their different genres and their potential uses.
  • have acquired first-hand experience in the application of anthropological and social scientific concepts for the analysis of concrete imaginations of the future, as well as presenting the results of such analysis both orally and in writing.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and seminars.

Please note that mandatory activities and lectures may start prior to the registration deadline.

Mandatory activity The mandatory activity in this course is to hold a oral presentation in seminar. Information about the mandatory activity will be available in Blackboard at the beginning of the semester. The mandatory activity will be assessed as approved or not approved, and in order to be qualified for the exam the mandatory activity has to be approved.

Compulsory assignments

  • Oral presentation in seminars

Further on evaluation

The exam in this course consists of a term paper.

Retake exam

It is possible to retake the exam, but the examination is only offered in the spring semester.

Course materials

The reading list will be available at the beginning of the semester.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Intermediate course, level II


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Social Sciences
  • Social Anthropology
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Social Anthropology


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Assignment 100/100





Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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