New Books by symposium speakers and organizers


A contagious cause: the american hunt for cancer viruses and the rise of molecular medicine

By Robin Wolfe Scheffler

University of Chicago Press, 2019

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Is cancer a contagious disease? In the late nineteenth century this idea, and attending efforts to identify a cancer “germ,” inspired fear and ignited controversy. Yet speculation that cancer might be contagious also contained a kernel of hope that the strategies used against infectious diseases, especially vaccination, might be able to subdue this dread disease. Today, nearly one in six cancers are thought to have an infectious cause, but the path to that understanding was twisting and turbulent.

A Contagious Cause is the first book to trace the century-long hunt for a human cancer virus in America, an effort whose scale exceeded that of the Human Genome Project. The government’s campaign merged the worlds of molecular biology, public health, and military planning in the name of translating laboratory discoveries into useful medical therapies. However, its expansion into biomedical research sparked fierce conflict. Many biologists dismissed the suggestion that research should be planned and the idea of curing cancer by a vaccine or any other means as unrealistic, if not dangerous. Although the American hunt was ultimately fruitless, this effort nonetheless profoundly shaped our understanding of life at its most fundamental levels. A Contagious Cause links laboratory and legislature as has rarely been done before, creating a new chapter in the histories of science and American politics.


astounding: JOhn w. campbell, isaac asimov, robert a. heinlein, l. ron hubbard, and the golden age of science fiction

By Alec Nevala-Lee

Hey Street Books, Harper Collins, October 23, 2018

Also available as an E-book and Audiobook

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Astounding is the landmark account of the extraordinary partnership between four controversial writers—John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard—who set off a revolution in science fiction and forever changed our world. 

This remarkable cultural narrative centers on the figure of John W. Campbell, Jr., whom Asimov called “the most powerful force in science fiction ever.” Campbell, who has never been the subject of a biography until now, was both a visionary author—he wrote the story that was later filmed as The Thing—and the editor of the groundbreaking magazine best known as Astounding Science Fiction, in which he discovered countless legendary writers and published classic works ranging from the I, Robot series to Dune. Over a period of more than thirty years, from the rise of the pulps to the debut of Star Trek, he dominated the genre, and his three closest collaborators reached unimaginable heights. Asimov became the most prolific author in American history; Heinlein emerged as the leading science fiction writer of his generation with the novels Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land; and Hubbard achieved lasting fame—and infamy—as the founder of the Church of Scientology. 

Drawing on unexplored archives, thousands of unpublished letters, and dozens of interviews, Alec Nevala-Lee offers a riveting portrait of this circle of authors, their work, and their tumultuous private lives. With unprecedented scope, drama, and detail, Astounding describes how fan culture was born in the depths of the Great Depression; follows these four friends and rivals through World War II and the dawn of the atomic era; and honors such exceptional women as Doña Campbell and Leslyn Heinlein, whose pivotal roles in the history of the genre have gone largely unacknowledged. For the first time, it reveals the startling extent of Campbell’s influence on the ideas that evolved into Scientology, which prompted Asimov to observe: “I knew Campbell and I knew Hubbard, and no movement can have two Messiahs.” It looks unsparingly at the tragic final act that estranged the others from Campbell, bringing the golden age of science fiction to a close, and it illuminates how their complicated legacy continues to shape the imaginations of millions and our vision of the future itself.


Handbook of anticipatioN, Theoretical and Applied Aspects of the Use of Future in Decision Making

By Roberto Poli

Springer, 2018

Available as an E-Book. For more information and to purchase please CLICK HERE


This Handbook presents the state of the art overview of current research on anticipation studies. It develops anticipation from both the theoretical and applied points of view.  Via this comprehensive overview of the research on anticipation, this Handbook makes clear that anticipation is a serious topic of research that can and should be connected to Futures Studies research, perspectives and orientation. The Handbook uses the anticipatory viewpoint as a unifying framework able both to stop the progressive fragmentation of the human and social sciences and begin a process aimed at progressively closer integration, mutual knowledge and dialogue among the human and social sciences. It sets the agenda for the field, helps futures studies to come of age, and contributes to changing the orientation of the human and social sciences from their dominant past-orientation to a new future-orientation. 

The Handbook presents research from a variety of fields such as: Biology, ecology, psychology, social sciences, humanities, engineering, and computer science. The editorial board consists of scholars from various sciences, such as futurists, sociologists, economists, statisticians, computer scientists, designers and game builders.


The Future of the World: Futurology, Futurists, and the Struggle for the Post Cold War Imagination

By Jenny Andersson

Oxford University Press, August 2018.

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The Future of the World is devoted to the intriguing field of study which emerged after World War Two, futurism or futurology. Jenny Andersson explains how futurist scholars and researchers imagined the Cold War and post Cold War world and the tools and methods they would use to influence and change that world. 

Futurists were a motley crew of Cold War warriors, nuclear scientists, journalists, and peace activists. Some argued it should be a closed sphere of science defined by delimited probabilities. They were challenged by alternative notions of the future as a potentially open realm. 

Futurism also drew on an eclectic range of repertoires, some of which were deduced from positivist social science, mathematics, and nuclear physics, and some of which sprung from alternative forms of knowledge in science fiction, journalism, or religion. 

These different forms of prediction laid very different claims to how accurately futures could be known, and what kind of control could be exerted over what was yet to come. The Future of the World carefully examines these different engagements with the future, and inscribes them in the intellectual history of the post war period. Using unexplored archival collections, The Future of the World reconstructs the Cold War networks of futurologists and futurists.


Calculated Values: Finance, Politics, and the Quantitative Age 

By William Deringer

Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, February 2018

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Modern political culture features a deep-seated faith in the power of numbers to find answers, settle disputes, and explain how the world works. Whether evaluating economic trends, measuring the success of institutions, or divining public opinion, we are told that numbers don’t lie. But numbers have not always been so revered. Calculated Values traces how numbers first gained widespread public authority in one nation, Great Britain.

Into the seventeenth century, numerical reasoning bore no special weight in political life. Complex calculations were often regarded with suspicion, seen as the narrow province of navigators, bookkeepers, and astrologers, not gentlemen. This changed in the decades following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Though Britons’ new quantitative enthusiasm coincided with major advances in natural science, financial capitalism, and the power of the British state, it was no automatic consequence of those developments, William Deringer argues. Rather, it was a product of politics—ugly, antagonistic, partisan politics. From parliamentary debates to cheap pamphlets, disputes over taxes, trade, and national debt were increasingly conducted through calculations. Some of the era’s most pivotal political moments, like the 1707 Union of England and Scotland and the 1720 South Sea Bubble, turned upon calculative conflicts.

As Britons learned to fight by the numbers, they came to believe, as one calculator wrote in 1727, that “facts and figures are the most stubborn evidences.” Yet the authority of numbers arose not from efforts to find objective truths that transcended politics, but from the turmoil of politics itself.

Note from the Author: 

Grappling with the Futures participants might take particular interest in Chapter 6, “Futures Projected: Robert Walpole’s Political Calculations,” which describes future-oriented thinking—including a kind of quantitative “scenario” analysis—in 18th century political thought. The history of the future is also a prominent theme in Chapters 2 and 5. 



How Do We Explore Our Futures?

Edited by Sirkka Heinonen, Osmo Kuusi & Hazel Salminen

Acts Futura Fennica 10, The Finnish Society for Futures Studies (

The book is available in paperback and PDF HERE



 This book comprises 21 leading Finnish futurists revea­ling their practical and theoretical know­led­ge of futu­res studies. The texts are a cross-section of twenty years of futures research. The writers present methods and their practical applications, demon­strating various inter­actions between futu­res research and other fields of science.

The book samples a large variety of modern futures studies’ methodology including sections on evolu­tio­nary and systems thinking, expert-based know­led­ge eva­lu­ation and time-series based methods like Delphi and Cau­sal Layered Analysis (CLA). The book also deals with com­municative futures methods such as futures work­shops and scenario work. In ad­di­tion, it includes three chapters focusing on newer methods such as the anti­cipation of Weak Signals and Black Swans.

This book is a comprehensive reading for anyone interested in futures studies theory and its practical ap­pli­cations. As a fundamental publication of futures studies methods this book is also suitable for lec­ture support material for universities. The purpose of the book is to familiarize the reader with the idea of futures studies and the basic methods of futures as a scientific discipline. We hope that the readers will find this publication and its arguments a stimulating trigger, launching creative argumentation about our responsibility to imagine alternative futures. 




memories of the future, On countervision

By Stephen Wilson and Deborah Jaffé, editors

Peter Lang Publishing, 2017

Also available as a PDF and E-Book

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What is a memory of the future? Is it a myth, a fiction of a severed arm, a post-human debate or a broken time machine? In an increasingly insecure future-world there is an urgency to consider and debate these questions. Memories of the Future: On Countervision addresses these concerns by speculating on the connections between memory and futurity in fields such as counter-histories, women’s studies, science fiction, art and design, technology, philosophy and politics. This book reveals how these subjects regenerate at the intersections of vision, counter-cultural production and the former present. The volume links the re-imaginings of memory into the present with topics such as the fever dream allegory of the adolescent social experience, soft technologies of future dress, reinventions of monetary exchange, rekindled subjectivities of school days, and technics and human progression. These countervisions argue against the homogenizing status quo of the present in order to challenge the customs, traditions and conventions of the past and propositions of the future. 


Introduction to anticipation studies

By Roberto Poli

Springer, 2017

Also available as an E-Book. For more information and to purchase please CLICK HERE


This book presents the theory of anticipation, and establishes anticipation of the future as a legitimate topic of research. It examines anticipatory behavior, i.e. a behavior that ‘uses’ the future in its actual decisional process. The book shows that anticipation violates neither the ontological order of time nor causation. It explores the question of how different kinds of systems anticipate, and examines the risks and uses of such anticipatory practices.   The book first summarizes the research on anticipation conducted within a range of different disciplines, and describes the connection between the anticipatory point of view and futures studies. Following that, its chapters on Wholes, Time and Emergence, make explicit the ontological framework within which anticipation finds its place. It then goes on to discuss Systems, Complexity, and the Modeling Relation, and provides the scientific background supporting anticipation. It restricts formal technicalities to one chapter, and presents those technicalities twice, in formal and plain words to advance understanding. The final chapter shows that all the threads presented in the previous chapters naturally converge toward what has come to be called “Discipline of Anticipation”


foresight in action, developing policy-oriented scenarios

By Marjolein B. A. van Asselt, Susan A. van ‘t Klooster, Phillip W. F. van Noten and Livia A. Smits

Routledge, 2010, 2015 (Paperback)

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Assessing the future is vital in informing public policy decisions. One of the most widespread approaches is the development of scenarios, which are alternative hypothetical futures. Research has indicated, however, that the reality of how professionals go about employing scenarios is often starkly at odds with the theory - a finding that has important ramifications for how the resulting images of the future should be interpreted. It also shows the need for rewriting and updating theory. This book, based on an intensive five year study of how experts actually go about assessing the future, provides a groundbreaking examination of foresighting in action. Obtained via ethnographic techniques, the results lay bare for the first time the real processes by which scenarios are made. It is also the first book to examine foresighting for public policy, which is so often overlooked in favour of business practice. From handling of discontinuity to historical determinism, the analysis reveals and explains why foresight is difficult and what the major pitfalls are. Each chapter ends with a toolkit of recommendations for practice. The book aims to help readers to reflect on their own practices of public-oriented foresight and thus to foster a deeper understanding of the key principles and challenges. Ultimately, this will lead to better informed decision making.


PHILOSOPHIC-METHODOLOGICAL Analysis of Prediction and its Role in Economics

By Wenceslas J. Gonzalez, Springer, Dordrecht, 2015 (“Theory and Decision Library A: Rational Choice in Practical Philosophy and Philosophy of Science”)

Also available as a PDF and E-Book

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This book develops a philosophico-methodological analysis of prediction and its role in economics. Prediction plays a key role in economics in various ways. It can be seen as a basic science, as an applied science, and in the application of this science. First, it is used by economic theory in order to test the available knowledge. In this regard, prediction has been presented as the scientific test for economics as a science. Second, prediction provides a content regarding the possible future that can be used for prescription in applied economics. Thus, it can be used as a guide for economic policy, i.e., as knowledge concerning the future to be employed for the resolution of specific problems. Third, prediction also has a role in the application of this science in the public arena. This is through the decision-making of the agents — individuals or organizations — in quite different settings, both in the realm of microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Within this context, the research is organized in five parts, which discuss relevant aspects of the role of prediction in economics: I) The problem of prediction as a test for a science; II) The general orientation in methodology of science and the problem of prediction as a scientific test; III) The methodological framework of social sciences and economics: Incidence for prediction as a test; IV) Epistemology and methodology of economic prediction: Rationality and empirical approaches; and V) Methodological aspects of economic prediction: From description to prescription. Thus, the book is of interest for philosophers and economists as well as policy-makers seeking to ascertain the roots of their performance. The style used lends itself to a wide audience.   


Zukünfte, Aufstieg und Krise der Zukunftsforschung 1945-1980

[Visions of the Future. The Formation and Crisis of Western Futures Studies, 1945-1980]

By Elke Seefried

De Gruyter Oldenbourgh, 2015

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After 1945, new methods and tools for forecasting the future grew out of the dynamic developments that were taking place in science and technology. Conceptions of futures research or futures studies as approaches to forecasting, planning and envisaging the future grew out of transnational circulations of knowledge in the 1950s and 1960s. The futures field was epitomized by the perception of many possible futures to be forecast and shaped. However, during the 1970s, the limits of envisioning the future became increasingly evident. This book as the first comprehensive study on the topic focuses on the futures field in Western industrialized countries – particularly the USA and West Germany – but also takes the socialist states and global networks into its ambit. 

The book has been awarded the German Translation Prize and is being translated into English (to be published by Berghahn Books in 2019/20).