Call for Papers: Intellectual History Conference

Thoughts of the Tomorrow: Intellectuals and the History of the Future

Faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows are invited to participate in the Thoughts of
Tomorrow conference sponsored by the Columbia University History Department and hosted by
Teachers College.

On November 1, 2024, an interdisciplinary community of scholars will congregate at Columbia
University to weigh in on and consider questions around the history of the future. It is not an
exaggeration to say that we are living through a period of intense uncertainty, even dread, of the
future. Whether it’s the unsettling pace of technological development, the instability of
taken-for-granted political institutions, radical transformations of work, labor, and economy, or
the rapid reconfigurations of gender, race, and identity, nearly every facet of contemporary life
seems characterized by confusion about our past and suspicion of our future. This conference
serves as a platform to dissect, among other topics, the intricacies of futurology, dystopias,
utopias, apocalypse, and paradise. Historians and scholars working beyond the historical field
will reflect on the diverse social imaginaries and narratives that shape our understanding of the

The organizing committee welcomes papers from every geography, historical topic, and time
period, as well as submissions from other disciplines dealing with the history and
conceptualization of the future. Research involving historical thinking about utopias and
dystopias, the future of labor and technology, the environment, the future of nations and citizens,
and political thought in any part of the world are some examples of topics that could be
discussed at this conference. While historians cannot predict the future, we can learn and share
lessons from those who have thought about it deeply.

Applicants may submit individually or as a group, though the organizing committee reserves the
right to organize panels according to overall need.

Please submit a 200-300 word abstract outlining the topic of your proposed paper here.

The deadline to submit a paper is May 31, 2024.

Limited financial assistance will be available to support panelists’ travel and lodging expenses.
Please contact your department first regarding funding. Please reach out to the conference
organizers with any questions.

Organizers: Juliana Torres ([email protected]), Nick Vachon ([email protected])
Wyatt Reynolds ([email protected]), GeColby Youngblood ([email protected])