What is it about?

Around the world, the rise of temperatures due to global warming is revealing and exposing forgotten traces of the past that are still scored somewhere in the physical terrain. This paper suggests that the transformative landscapes of the Anthropocene not only confront our present world with a ruined and unprecedented future; they also draw our attention to suppressed and stowed-away memories and geographies from the past. By examining imaginaries of sustainable futures in Mexico City, New York and Amsterdam, it will be shown that site-specific ruins and traces of past realities have an evocative potential: they are used to imagine alternative historical trajectories and indicate possible alternative futures that challenge the absoluteness of our present world. The underlying temporality in these imaginaries is one in which the future is portended as a return of a past: there lies a future in these ruins.

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Why is it important?

Climate change is often perceived as a problem of the future, but this paper shows that climate change confronts us with an unprocessed past as well.

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This page is a summary of: A Future in Ruins, KronoScope, November 2020, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15685241-12341467.
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