“Futurity” connotes not just what will happen or a time that is not yet. It is laden with affective attachments such as hope and fear. But it is best understood in relationship to the other words that are often proximate to it, such as “time,” “horizon,” “utopia,” and “dystopia.” Throughout North America, futurity is consistently associated with identity, linking ideas of what the future will look like with the belief that various groups can build a new space or, in our worst imaginings, be injured by an impending world that disavows or has no place for them. Futurities are simultaneous and sometimes competing, with the idea of the future always contained within another project related to nation or identity. Theorists of the future in American studies and cultural studies have thus focused on this nexus of identity and imagined world-building.

This essay may be found on page 119 of the printed volume.

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