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Cynthia Selin

Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Senior Global Futures Scholar
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5603

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, Professor 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.

She is an associate 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 Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU; and an associate fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, U.K., where she teaches in the Oxford Scenarios Programme.

  • Ph.D. Knowledge and Management, Institute for Politics, Philosophy and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark 2006. Dissertation: Volatile Visions: Transactions in Anticipatory Knowledge
  • M.A. Science and Technology Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark and Maastricht University, Netherlands 2000. Thesis: Professional Dreamers: The Art and Science of Scenario Planning
  • B.A. American Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz 1996. Honours thesis: The Promise and Peril of Nanotechnology


Research Interests: 

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



Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. Nelson, JP*,  C. Selin & C. T. Scott. 2021. “Toward anticipatory governance of human genome editing: a critical review of scholarly governance discourse” Journal of Responsible Innovation.
  2. Andersen, PA, Hansen, M. & C. Selin. 2021. “Stakeholder inclusion in scenario planning—A review of European projects.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change (169).
  3. Selin C, KC Rawlings, K de Ridder-Vignone, J Sadowski*, C Altamirano Allende*, G Gano, S Davies, D Guston. 2017. “Experiments in Engagement: Designing PEST for Capacity Building.” Public Understanding of Science, 26 (6), 634-649.
  4. Altamirano-Allende C* & C Selin. 2016. "Seeing the city: photography as a place of work." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 6 (3), 460-469.
  5. Selin C, L Kimbell, R Ramirez, & Y Bhatti. 2015. "Scenarios and Design: Scoping the Dialogue Space." Futures, 74: 4-17.
  6.     Selin C. 2015.“Merging art and design in foresight: Making sense of Emerge.” Futures, 70: 24-35.
  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.
  8. Ramírez R and C Selin. 2014. “Plausibility and probability in scenario planning.” foresight, 16(1): 54 – 74.
  9. Selin C & AG Pereira. 2013. “Pursuing Plausibility.” International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 9(2/3/4): 93-109.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. Selin C. 2011. “Negotiating Plausibility: Intervening in the Future of Nanotechnology.” Science and Engineering Ethics, 17(4): 723-737.
  15. Selin C & P Boradkar. 2010. “Prototyping Nanotechnology: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Responsible Innovation.” Journal of Nano Education, 2(1-2): 1-12.
  16. Selin C & R Hudson** 2010. “Envisioning Nanotechnology: New Media and Future-Oriented Stakeholder Dialogue.” Technology in Society, 32(3): 173-182.
  17. Selin C. 2008. “Sociology of the Future: Tracing Stories of Technology and Time.” Sociology Compass, 2(60): 1875-1895.
  18. Selin C. 2007. “Expectations and the Emergence of Nanotechnology.” Science, Technology and Human Values, 32(2): 196-220.
  19. Selin C. 2006. “Time Matters: Temporal Harmony and Dissonance in Nanotechnology Networks.” Time & Society, 15(1): 121-139.
  20. Selin C.  2006. “Trust and the Illusive Force of Scenarios.” Futures 38(1): 1-14.


Journal Articles

  1. Scott, C. T. and C. Selin. 2019. “What to Expect When Expecting CRISPR Baby Number Four.” The American Journal of Bioethics, 19(3): 7-9.
  2. Hannah D and C Selin. 2016.“Unseasonal Fashion: A Manifesto.” The Avery Review: Critical Essays on Architecture. [online April 7]
  3. Selin, C. 2014. “On Not Forgetting Futures.” Journal for Responsible Innovation, 1(1): 103-108.


  1. Hannah, D., J. Eschrich, B. Cooper and C. Selin. 2018. A Year Without a Winter. Columbia University Press.
  2. Wetmore J, E Fisher, and C Selin. (Eds.) 2008. Presenting Futures: Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society. New York, NY: Springer. 23 chapters.
  3. Selin C. 2006. Volatile Visions: Transactions in Anticipatory Knowledge. Copenhagen, Denmark: Samfundslitteratur. [Published Dissertation].

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  1. Withycombe-Keller, L., M. Bernstein & C. Selin. 2019. “Intervening through Futures for Sustainable Presents: Scenarios, Sustainability and Responsible Research and Innovation.” In Grunwald, A. A Losch, M. Meister & I. Schulz-Schaeffer (eds) Socio-technical Futures Shaping the Present. Springer. 255-282.
  2. Selkirk, K., C. Selin & U. Felt. 2018. “A Festival of Futures: Recognizing and Reckoning Temporal Complexity in ForesightHandbook of Anticipation: Theoretical and Applied Aspects of the Use of Future in Decision Making, Springer.
  3. Konrad K, H van Lente, C Groves, and C Selin. 2016. “Performing and Governing the Future in Science and Technology.” In Miller C, Smith-Doerr, U Felt & R Fouche (Eds.) The Handbook for Science and Technology Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  4. Selin C & J Sadowski*. 2016. “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.
  5. 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. (
  6. 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: 237-242.
  7. 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. Pp. 27-51.


Book Chapters

  1. 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. 979-1000.
  2. 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.



  1. Selin, C et al. 2020. PGET Scenarios Report. Arizona State University, Baylor College of Medicine.
  2. Selin, C. and S. Wasserman*. 2019. Open Positioning of Futures Workshop Report. Center for the Study of Futures, Arizona State University.
  3. Wasserman, S., L. Lambert & C. Selin. Future Design: Exploring Affirmative Futures Through an Intergenerational Outlook. White Paper, Center for the Study of Futures, Arizona State University.
  4. Anbar A. et al. 2016. Planetary Design Climate Design Workshop Report. Planetworks, Arizona State University.
  5. Selin C. 2011. Gaming the Future. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Report # R11-0003.
  6. Selin C. 2011. Scoping Anticipation: A Select Review of Futures Research and Education Programs. Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University.        
  7. Davies SR, C Selin & R Allen** 2010. Solar to Fuels: Interdisciplinary Energy, Policy and Society Workshop. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Report #R10-0002.
  8. Wiek A and C Selin. 2009. The Future of Phoenix- Crafting Sustainable Development Strategies for Phoenix. School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. 
  9. Selin C. 2008. The Future of Medical Diagnostics. Scenario Workshop Report. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Report #R08-0001.
  10. Selin C. 2008. CNS Visioning Workshop:  Creating Scenarios about the Future of Anticipatory Governance. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Report #R08-0003.


Other Professional Writing

  1. Ramirez, R., C. Khong, T. Lang and C. Selin. 2019. “Planning for the Future.” Letter. The Economist. 1 August 2019.
  2. Selin, C. 2016. “Tough Love for Technology.” Science [19 August], 353 (6301): 756. [Invited review of Jasanoff, S. The Ethics of Invention: Technology and the Human Future].
  3. Selin, C & J Banks. 2014. Futurescape City Tours: A Novel Method for Public Engagement. Guidebook for Practitioners. Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Arizona State University
  4. Selin, C. 2010. Entries for “Anticipation” (pp. 13-16); “Foresight” (p. 245-253). In Guston, D (ed) Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  5. Miller C, D Guston, D Barben, C Selin, E Fisher & JM Wetmore. 2008. “Nanotechnology & Society: Ideas for Education and Engagement” CNS white paper distributed to hundreds of museums.


Digital Media Works


  1. “Center for the Study of Futures” institutional webpage (2018- current)
  2. “A Year Without a Winter” web portal (2016-current) co-produced with D Hannah,
  3. “Futurescape City Tours Digital Exhibition” (2013-14) responsible for the design, production and curation with K de Ridder-Vignone,
  4. "Futurescape City Tours: A Novel Method for Civic Engagement” by C Altamirano Allende*, oversaw production and scripting for 2014 short film on research project.
  5. "Where is your Nano?" by Alex Gino, oversaw production and co-wrote script for 2012 short film for CNS outreach and training.


Research Activity: 

Grants Funded

National Institutes of Health. Preparing for Genome Editing Technologies: An Anticipatory Approach. (PI with Chris Scott of Baylor University) [2019-2023] $1,603,000

National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program. “Citizen-Centered Smart Cities and Smart Living.” [2018-2023] (Co-PI) $2,999,997

NSF-ENG-EED. Co-PI, “Cross-Disciplinary Education in Social and Ethical Aspects of Nanotechnology” [2013-2016], 37% of $200K

Science Museum Minnesota. PI, “Civic Scenarios on Climate Adaptation” [2011-2012], 100% of $10K

EU FP7 Science in Society. Senior Researcher, “Integrated Assessment of Societal Impacts of Emerging Science and Technology from within Epistemic Networks” [2012-2014], $9K of $2.1M

NSF NSEC/Center for Nanotechnology in Society (#0937591). Senior Investigator [2010-2016], 8% of $6.9M

EESE Collaborative Research: Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering Education. Senior Researcher [2011-2013], 8% of $125K

NSF NSEC/Center for Nanotechnology in Society (#0531194). Senior Investigator (from 2007) [2005-2010], 2% of $5.4M

Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
SOS 792Research
SOS 799Dissertation
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
SOS 790Reading and Conference
SOS 792Research
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
SOS 790Reading and Conference
SOS 792Research
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 591Seminar
HSD 598Special Topics
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SOS 311Future Thinking and Strategies
SOS 790Reading and Conference
SOS 792Research
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
FIS 201Innovation in Society
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
FIS 201Innovation in Society
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
SOS 311Future Thinking and Strategies

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. Saïd 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.