We are the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, which is housed in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can pursue BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Futures Studies. As one of the oldest Futures Studies’ centers in the world, HRCFS has pioneered critical research in the field for more than 40 years led by its intrepid Director, Dr. Jim Dator, who taught the first-ever college-level Futures Studies course at Virginia Tech in the late 1960’s. As one of the founders of the academic discipline, Dator birthed a distinct methodology for navigating the multitude of images of the future that would become the hallmark of the Manoa School, which is known for its four-futures method.
The four futures offer distinct lens with which to view possibilities and potentialities for the future(s), and each is situated with its own environmental, technological, social, political, and economic paradigms. They are as follows:
Growth: Tomorrow looks like today, kinda…
Growth presumes that the trends driving social change in the here and now will remain relatively constant, which is to say that there is an expectation that growth is good. While there are many positives associated with this future, the problems of today become the crises of tomorrow.
Disciplined: Sustainable and/or Highly-mediated…
Disciplined contends that the only way to prevent collapse is to tighten one’s belt, so to speak. Whether this means transitioning to renewable energy and/or implementing a one-child policy, a truly disciplined society is one where change is managed.
Collapse: It’s the end of the world as we know it…
For some reason, it has become extremely easy for humanity to imagine its end. In a collapse scenario, an apocalyptic event has occurred, but humanity has endured. It is perhaps best to think of this scenario as a new beginning for those left to rebuild following some cataclysm.
Transform: Angels or Aliens…
Transform presences the idea that through some high-tech (aliens) or spiritual (angels) advancement or intervention, or perhaps a combination of the two, that humanity has radically altered itself and the world. Whether its the mother ship landing or the second-coming of whomever, Transform is where fantasy becomes reality.
Still not sure what to make of Futures Studies? Keep poking around the site!
Our research team consists of:
Dr. Jim Dator (Jim in action)
Aubrey Yee (Aubrey in action)
John A. Sweeney (John in action)
We have been extremely fortunate to have the multi-talented Aaron Rosa as an additional researcher on the project, specifically with the gaming platform!
This research project was made possible through a grant received from the Graduate Research and Education Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.