Cynthia Selin

1120 S Cady Mall
Assoc Professor
TEMPE Campus
Assoc Professor
TEMPE Campus
Assoc Professor
TEMPE Campus
Senior Sustainability Scientist
TEMPE Campus


Dr. Cynthia Selin’s work explores how the future serves as a conceptual and concrete resource to make sense of the uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity of socio-technical change. The future is an important phenomenon in contemporary society and how the future is imagined, represented, produced, and consumed matters for good decision-making and good governance in the present.  While the future is constantly evoked in relation to technological innovation, the meaning and import of futuring is seldom examined. By combining qualitative social science research with cutting edge experimental practice, Dr. Selin’s research advances scholarly understanding of anticipation in society and invents new approaches to cultivating foresight to nurture greater reflexivity in systems of innovation.

Dr. Selin is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Sustainability; a Senior Scholar in the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU; and an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford where she teaches in the Oxford Scenarios Programme.


2006                Copenhagen Business School                                       Copenhagen, Denmark

PhD Knowledge and Management                                         

Institute for Politics, Philosophy and Management    

Dissertation: Volatile Visions: Transactions in Anticipatory Knowledge


2000                Roskilde University                                                     Roskilde, Denmark

                        Maastricht University                                                  Maastricht, Netherlands         

MA Science and Technology Studies                                      

Thesis: Professional Dreamers: The Art and Science of Scenario Planning


1996                University of California, Santa Cruz                            Santa Cruz, California, USA

BA American Studies                                                                         

Honours thesis: The Promise and Peril of Nanotechnology


Research Interests

Areas of expertise: Scenario and foresight methodologies; ethics and new technologies; temporality; anticipatory governance; organizational learning; innovation; public deliberation; climate change adaptation.




Wetmore J, E Fisher, and C Selin. (Eds.) 2008. Presenting Futures: Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society. New York, NY: Springer. 23 chapters.

Selin C. 2006. Volatile Visions: Transactions in Anticipatory Knowledge. Copenhagen, Denmark: Samfundslitteratur.


Peer-Reviewed Articles


Hannah D and C Selin. 2016.“Unseasonal Fashion: A Manifesto.” The Avery Review: Critical Essays on Architecture. [online April 7]

Selin C, KC Rawlings, K de Ridder-Vignone, J Sadowski*, C Altamirano Allende*, G Gano, S Davies, D Guston. 2016. “Experiments in Engagement: Designing PEST for Capacity Building.” Public Understanding of Science, published online January 14, 2016.

Selin C, L Kimbell, R Ramirez, & Y Bhatti. 2015. "Scenarios and Design: Scoping the Dialogue Space." Futures, 74: 4-17. #C=1

Selin C. 2015.“Merging art and design in foresight: Making sense of Emerge.” Futures, 70: 24-35. #C=7

Davies SR, C Selin, S Rodegher*, C A Allende*, M Burnam-Fink*, C DiVittorio**, C Glerup*, C Keys*, M Kimball*, M Liao*, C Monfreda*, B Trinidad*. 2015. “Studying Emerge: Findings from an Event Ethnography.” Futures, 70: 75-85. #C=2

Altamirano-Allende C* & C Selin. 2015. "Seeing the city: photography as a place of work." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-10. #C=1

Selin, C. 2014. “On Not Forgetting Futures.” Journal for Responsible Innovation, 1(1): 103-108. #C=2

Ramírez R and C Selin. 2014. “Plausibility and probability in scenario planning.” foresight, 16(1): 54 – 74. #C=22

Selin C & AG Pereira. 2013. “Pursuing Plausibility.” International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 9(2/3/4): 93-109. #C=3

Wiek A, D Guston, S van der Leeuw, C Selin & P Shapira. 2013. “The Nano-Enhanced City: Sustainability Challenges and Anticipatory Governance.” Journal of Urban Technology, 20(2): 45-62. #C=13

Davies SR, C Selin, G Gano*, AG Pereira. 2013. “Finding Futures: A Spatio-Visual Experiment in Participatory Engagement.” Leonardo: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, 46(1): 76-77. #C=5

Davies SR, C Selin, G Gano*, A. G. Pereira. 2012. “Citizen Engagement and Urban Change: Three Case Studies of Material Deliberation.” Cities, 29(6): 351-357. #C=28

Davies SR & C Selin. 2012. "Energy Futures: Five Dilemmas of the Practice of Anticipatory Governance.” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 6(1): 119-136. #C=11

Selin C. 2011. “Negotiating Plausibility: Intervening in the Future of Nanotechnology.” Science and Engineering Ethics, 17(4): 723-737. #C=38

Selin C & P Boradkar. 2010. “Prototyping Nanotechnology: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Responsible Innovation.” Journal of Nano Education, 2(1-2): 1-12. #C=10

Selin C & R Hudson** 2010. “Envisioning Nanotechnology: New Media and Future-Oriented Stakeholder Dialogue.” Technology in Society, 32(3): 173-182. #C=18

Selin C. 2008. “Sociology of the Future: Tracing Stories of Technology and Time.” Sociology Compass, 2(60): 1875-1895. #C=37

Selin C. 2007. “Expectations and the Emergence of Nanotechnology.” Science, Technology and Human Values, 32(2): 196-220. #C=180

Selin C. 2006. “Time Matters: Temporal Harmony and Dissonance in Nanotechnology Networks.” Time & Society, 15(1): 121-139. #C=36

Selin C.  2006. “Trust and the Illusive Force of Scenarios.” Futures 38(1): 1-14. #C=72


Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters


Konrad K, H van Lente, C Groves, and C Selin. [in press] “The Future in STS: Performativity & Temporality.” In Miller C, Smith-Doerr, U Felt & R Fouche (Eds.) The Handbook for Science and Technology Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Selin C & J Sadowski*. 2015. “Against Blank Slate Futuring: Noticing Obduracy in the City through Experiential Methods of Public Engagement.” in Kearnes, M & J Chilvers (Eds). Remaking Participation: Science, Environment and Emerging Publics. Abingdon: Routledge: 218-237.

Selin C & G Gano*. 2015. “Seeing Differently: Enticing Reflexivity through Mediated Participation in Place in the Futurescape City Tours.” in Gubrium, A and K Harper (Eds). Engaging Participatory Visual and Digital Methods. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press: 87-100.

Selin C. 2011. “Travails, Travels, and Trials:  Report from the SNET Roundtable on Plausibility.”  In Zülsdorf et al (Eds.)  Quantum Engagements: Social Reflections of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies. Heidelberg: AKA GmbH.

Selin C.  2007. “Professional Dreamers: The Past in the Future of Scenario Planning.” In Sharpe B & K van der Heijden (Eds). Scenarios for Success: Turning Insight into Action. London: Wiley.


Book Chapters


Barben D, E Fisher, C Selin, & D Guston. 2008. “Anticipating Nanotechnology: Governance, Engagement, and Reflexivity.” In Hackett, EJ, Amsterdamska, O, Lynch, M & J Wajcman (Eds.). The New Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Third Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. #C=289

Selin C.  2003. “The Art and Science of Scenario Planning.” Danish Anthology on Research Management. Aarhus, DK: Danish Institute for Studies in Research and Research Policy: 126-134

Research Activity


Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
SOS 311 Future Thinking and Strategies
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
SOS 311 Future Thinking and Strategies
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
SOS 799 Dissertation
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
SOS 799 Dissertation
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
SOS 799 Dissertation
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
SOS 311 Future Thinking and Strategies
SOS 799 Dissertation
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
SOS 799 Dissertation
Spring 2013
Course Number Course Title
SOS 394 Special Topics
SOS 799 Dissertation


ASU Courses

Futures Thinking and Strategy (SOS 311). School of Sustainability, ASU. Selin developed this new course in Spring 13 and in 14, Selin created an online offering. As of Spring 15, this now core SOS course is offered year-round, both online and on campus.

Winter School on the Anticipatory Governance and Responsible Innovation of
Emerging Technologies. Center for Nanotechnology in Society, ASU. January 2012- 2016

Sustainable Futures Studio (SOS 594). School of Sustainability, ASU. This problem-based learning studio course engaged graduate students in designing and piloting an innovative public engagement protocol. Fall 2012

After Emerge Studio (AME 499/592). Arts, Media & Engineering, ASU. This studio worked to analyse ethnographic and documentary data from a large-scale research project into a gallery exhibition. Spring 2012

Foresight Methodologies (SOS 494). School of Sustainability, ASU. New course developed by Selin. Spring 2012

Future Scenarios, Anticipatory Governance, and Sustainability  Urban Development in Phoenix (SOS 594). School of Sustainability, ASU. Co-taught with A. Wiek, this new award winning, ~25 graduate student, problem-based learning course used the City of Phoenix as a live case for developing and testing a framework for sustainability transitions. Spring 2010

InnovationSpace. The Design School, ASU. Selin served as the CNS Liaison for P. Boradkar led course that engaged business, engineering, and design students in new product design. 2007-2013

Justice and the Future (JUS 394). Justice and Social Inquiry, ASU. New course developed by Selin. Spring 2007


International Teaching

Oxford Scenarios Programme. Sa�d Business School, University of Oxford, England. 2013- present

Strategic Foresight in Engineering. Department of Management Engineering. Technical University of Denmark. August 2015


Museum Exhibitions and Gallery Shows

Futurescape City Tours (2015) Project Exhibition, Making and Doing, Society for the Social Studies of Science. Denver, CO. Nov. 11-14.

Future Things (2014) Curated Exhibition, Oxford Futures Forum. University of Oxford. May 30-31.

Futurescape (2012) Public Gallery. First Friday, Phoenix, AZ. December 7.

Emerge: Redesigning the Future (2012) Gallery Exhibition, ASU Art Museum, April 10 - August 25, 2012.