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Narrating Futures (NAFU)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Mar 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"This project is unique as it identifies a totally new field within Narratology: multiple future narratives. Narratives are traditionally concerned with past events. Even if they claim to be about the future (e.g., utopian tales), narratives treat these events as if they had already happened. In contrast, future narratives in our sense are narratives that preserve the characteristic feature of future time, viz. that it is open, multiple, not yet crystallized into actuality. We do not yet have a grammar, a logic, or a poetics of future(s) narratives. This project promises to offer these. Firmly rooted in Narratology, the project has interesting interfaces with Philosophy, Linguistics, the theory of History, Game Theory, Decision Theory, and Futurology. It will analyze a corpus of future-related 'texts' and conceptualize them so that the narrative mediation of complex multiple futures' scenarios becomes feasible. The impact of the findings of this trailblazing Humanities project will be across the board not only for the Humanities and Social Sciences, but also for Political, Environmental, and Business decision making, since future scenarios that retain the openness of forked-path or feedback or cross-impact models can only be communicated if they rely on multiple-narrative techniques and devices. 'Narrative' here refers not only to fictional, but also to non-fictional narratives; likewise, the narratives in question are by no means restricted to any one medium, such as language, or print. Movies, computer games etc. are equally in the focus of our research. Necessarily interdisciplinary, it is, however, an incontestably narratological project, because Narratology provides the central paradigm for this new field of enquiry, 'narrative'. To sum up: There is of now no division in the Humanities that would systematically investigate these phenomena. This field is constituted by this identification. This proposal opens up a totally new research area."
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