Prophecy, Prediction, Science Fiction: A History of the Future
Time & Location
About the Event
Week 1: Ancient Historians and Philosophers. Plato on why democracies fail. Herodotus' and Thucydides' predictions about future political conflict. Sun Tzu on "The Art of War."
Week 2: Apocalypse When? Biblical and Postbiblical Prophecy in the Old and New Testaments, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and Gnostic literature
Week 3: Medieval and Renaissance Prognosticators. Ibn Khaldun; Nostradamus Leonardo da Vinci
Week 4: Philosophies of History in the 18th-19th centuries. The rise and fall of civilizations (Edward Gibbon). Utopianism and progressivism. Dispensationalist Christianity. New technologies inspire science fiction (Samuel Clemens; Jules Verne; H.G. Wells).
Week 5: 20th Century. Worlds Fairs and their Fantasies. Hopes and fears in the nuclear age. Totalitarian dystopias (George Orwell; Aldous Huxley). Expectations for the 21st century (Isaac Asimov; Rand Corporation).
Week 6: Anybody’s Guess? The Future of Futurology