Future-thinking in Climate Change Politics

Imagining climate futures is a central theme in my work. As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Arizona State University I established and directed the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, bringing together institutions engaged in sustainability solutions, imagination in science, and creative writing with the goal to explore the role of a particular form of imagination in societies’ responses to climate change. ICF has featured award-winning climate fiction and non-fiction writers, including Margaret Atwood (The MaddAddam Trilogy), Paolo Bacigalupi (The Water Knife) and Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth extinction). We support research, teaching, and public outreach on climate futures, including an international short story contest.

Related Publications:

1. Imagination for Transformations to Sustainability

Imagination is an important source of transformational capacity given that it enables individuals, communities, and states to envision, assess, deliberate, and decide about their near- and long-term future. Its lack or suppression poses obstacles to mobilizing for change. Yet little is known about the nature of imagination and its role in the social and particularly political processes of transformation. This collaborative project with Michele-Lee Moore (Stockholm Resilience Center, University of Victoria) investigates the role of imagination in triggering, shaping, or constraining transformation processes related to climate change.

This project is supported by a Global Synergy grant of Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts.

We are co-editing a Special Feature [UPDATE LINK] with the journal ELMENTA: Science of the Anthropocene, which will be published at the end of 2017: Imagination and imaginative capacity for transformations to sustainability: Future thinking for a world of uncertainty and surprise.

Special Issue Flyer

Related Publications:

  • Milkoreit, M. (Under Review). Imaginary Politics – Future-making between Mind and Society. Special Feature on Envisioning Sustainable Transitions in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

2. Popular Culture and Climate Politics

Given the challenges of effective science communication, I am interested in alternative forms of learning about climate change, especially through new media and popular culture. I study the effects of popular culture, in particular, the HBO TV series Game of Thrones, on political discourse and mobilization around climate change in the United States. I am also interested in the potential cognitive-affective, social and political effects of climate fiction novels.

Related Publications:

  • Milkoreit, M. (2016). The Promise of Climate Fiction – Imagination, Storytelling and the Politics of the Future. In Wapner, Paul and Hilal Elver (eds.) Reimagining Climate Change. Chapter 10, pp. 171-191. Routledge Publishing.
  • Milkoreit, M. (Revise and Resubmit). Winter is Coming: Can ‘Game of Thrones’ Change Climate Politics? International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society.

Join our project!

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