Approximately 25 undergraduates attended a “Future Cafe,” a small seminar focused on future-oriented thinking. The event was facilitated on Wednesday by anthropology professor Shannon Dawdy and English professor Bill Brown, through the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT).
Brown and Dawdy drew inspiration from the “Death Cafe” movement, which organizes intimate gatherings to discuss mortality.
In addition to Future Cafe, 3CT hosts meetings discuss and celebrate new work, promotes social sciences research projects, and hosts graduate workshops. It was founded to counter cynicism in the social sciences and to promote more imaginative discussion of long-term possibilities.
“In academia, we’re really good at cynicism, we’re really good at critique, and we’re not so good at utopian thinking,” Dawdy said. “Revolutions fail…if you don’t have idealists to push you forward.”
Discussion at the meeting focused on the impact of technology and the development of living spaces, such as the consequences of self-driving cars or ways to redesign cities.
Dawdy and Brown intend to host follow-up meetings each month for the rest of the year, working off the themes proposed in the first meeting.