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Sealing future geographies: Religious prophecy and the case of Joanna Southcott

Holloway, J (2014) Sealing future geographies: Religious prophecy and the case of Joanna Southcott. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40. ISSN 0020-2754

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Abstract

This paper seeks to contribute to an emerging debate in human geography concerning the spatialities of the future, and aims to address a gap in work on the geography of religion regarding the temporalities of faith. Through a focus upon religious prophecy, the paper seeks to examine how different spaces, temporalities, identities, practices and dispositions (both religious and secular-scientific) are generated through and generate this religious future. The paper argues that prophecy is a particular form of making the future, and advances the dual notions cosmic-divine time and preparatory assured readiness in order to understand and underline this specificity. Through the example of the prophetess Joanna Southcott (1750-1814) and an event involving a box of her prophecies publically opened in 1927, it argues that prophetic space-times presence the future through multiple and intersecting ‘not-yets’, hesitancies and assurances.

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