Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Foresight Methods as Transnational Interventions: Mapping a Field of Practice

November 1st, 2019
1 PM

Howard Tilton Memorial Library, Room B17

The Department of Sociology Colloquium will feature a talk by Ann Mische, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and Visiting Professor at Tulane University.

Title: “Foresight methods as transnational interventions: mapping a field of practice”
Abstract: This paper examines the use of cultural techniques for “futures thinking” in transnational debates and interventions through a comparative analysis of “public interest” scenario processes since the 1990s. Scores of public interest scenario workshops have taken place around the world in the past three decades, focusing on problems such as conflict prevention, food security, youth, migration, urbanization, civil society, democratization, and adaptation to climate change. Some are national in scope (the future of Kenya or Indonesia) while others have global, regional, or municipal focus (the future of global climate governance, democracy in Latin America or urban informality in Bangkok). Scenario approaches distinguish themselves from both positivist forecasting (what will happen) and normative visioning (what should happen). Instead, they use narrative, visual and performative techniques to create multiple storylines for what could happen, with attention to complexity, contingency, and multi-linear causality. Scenario exercises are designed to help collectivities take the “long view,” grapple with diverse perspectives, and develop robust responses to problematic and uncertain situations. My analysis focuses the use of scenario methods by reform actors in the Global South working in the intertwined areas of democracy, development, peacebuilding and climate change, as well as on their links to transnational networks of sponsors and partners. Drawing on an original database of over 230 scenario reports since 1990, I analyze the multi-sectoral networks constituted by initiation, facilitation, funding and participation in public interest scenario processes. I compare the geographic scope of the scenarios (global, regional, national, urban, community) as well as their sectoral, methodological and topical engagement. I also examine degree to which these processes are sponsored by elite actors and powerholders, or conversely, represent attempts by reformist actors to challenge powerholders in local, national or transnational political arenas.


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Online Summer Book Group for K-12 Educators

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For pre-service, early career and veteran teachers who love reading and learning through literature who want to explore award-winning books for the middle and early high school classrooms. Join us as we read four books that explore stories of coming-of-age from multiple perspectives. Participants will receive a copy of each book and participate in an open discussion with other K-12 educators. We will launch the book group with The Other Half of Happy. The group will meet online and explore the real story behind this award-winning book with the author Rebecca Balrcárcel. Join us this summer as we discover new stories and books for your classroom.

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Central America, People and the Environment Educator Institute 2021

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This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

While at Tulane, the institute will explore the historic connections between the United States and Central America focusing on indigenous communities and environment while highlighting topics of social justice and environmental conservation. Join us to explore Central America and teaching strategies to implement into the classroom.

Additional details and registration will be available in the late fall 2020. For more information, please email or call 504.865.5164.