Sohail Inayatullah

July 11, 2009


Professor Sohail Inayatullah, a political scientist, is at Tamkang University, Taipei (Graduate Institute of Futures Studies), Visiting Academic at Queensland University of Technology; Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Faculty of Social Sciences and the Arts); and Associate, Prout College. Professor Inayatullah is a Fellow of the World Futures Studies Federation and the World Academy of Art and Science and on the International Advisory Council of the World Future Society.

In 1999, Dr. Inayatullah held the UNESCO Chair at the Centre for European Studies, University of Trier, Trier, Germany and the Tamkang Chair in Futures Studies at Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan. From 1981 to 1991, he was senior policy analyst and planner with the Hawaii Judiciary, where he coordinated the Court’s Foresight Program.


Inayatullah is co-editor of the Journal of Futures Studies and associate editor of New Renaissance. In addition, he is on the editorial boards of Futures, Development, Peace and Democracy in South Asia, and Foresight. He is theme editor of ‘Globalization and World Systems’ for the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. He has also contributed to the Macmillian Encyclopedia of the Future, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Peace Studies.

He has written more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries and magazine editorials. These have appeared in over 40 different journals including: American Behavioral Scientist, Australia Science, Contemporary South Asia, Convergence, Debats Technologics, Development, Edges, Euro-Asia Business Review, Future Generations Journal, Futures Research Quarterly, Futures, Futurics, Hawaii Bar Journal, In Context, International Foundation of Development Alternatives Dossier, International Journal of Science and Technology, International Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Journal of Applied Social Behavior, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Futures Studies, Journal of Islamic Science, Journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Law and Technology, On the Horizon, Periodica Islamica, Prospectiva, Seminar, Social Epistemologies, Suitcase, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Third Text, Tourism Management, Prout Journal, Whole Earth Review, and World Futures.

His articles have been translated into a variety of languages, including Catalan, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin.

Inayatullah has also written and co-edited twenty books/cdroms. These include:

  • Chaos and Coherence in our Uncommon Futures (with Mika Mannermaa and Richard Slaughter)
  • Futures Studies — A Multimedia Reader (CDROM),
  • Islam, Postmodernism and Other Futures: A Zia Sardar Reader (with Gail Boxwell),
  • Judicial Foresight in the Hawaii Judiciary,
  • Macrohistory and Macrohistorians: Perspectives on Individual, Social and Civilizational Change (with Johan Galtung),
  • Questioning the Future; Futures Studies, Action Learning and Organizational Transformation,
  • Situating Sarkar: Tantra, Macrohistory and Alternative Futures;
  • The Futures of Democracy in Pakistan and the Developing World (with Ikram Azam and Jim Dator),
  • The University in Transformation: Global Perspectives on the Futures of the University;
  • The Views of Futurists: The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies — Volume 4 (CDROM),
  • Transcending Boundaries: P. R. Sarkar’s Theories of Individual and Social Transformation (with Jennifer Fitzgerald),
  • Transforming Communication: Technology, Sustainability, and Future Generations (with Susan Leggett),
  • Understanding Sarkar: The Indian Episteme, Macrohistory and Transformative Knowledge,
  • Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions (with Jennifer Gidley),
  • The Causal Layered Analysis Reader: Theory and Case Studies of an Integrative and Transformative Methodology,
  • Questioning the Future: Methods and Tools for Organizational and Societal Transformation (second edition),
  • Neohumanist Educational Futures: Liberating the Pedagogical Intellect (with Marcus Bussey and Ivana Milojevic),
  • Alternative Educational Futures: Pedagogies for Emergent Worlds (with Marcus Bussey and Ivana Milojevic),
  • A Society for all Ages (with Colin Blackman),
  • Globalization and World Systems.

He has edited numerous special issues of the journal Futures in the areas of: Communication Futures (with Tony Stevenson); Alternative Futures of the University (with Jennifer Gidley); What Futurists Think; The Futures of South Asia; Layered Methodologies and Anticipatory Action Learning (with Jose Ramos). He has also co-edited a special issue of Foresight on Ageing Futures and two issues of Futures Research Quarterly on State Judiciaries.

In Australia, he has contributed to the Australian Financial Review, having published articles on cyber–lobbying, revolutions in governance, digital home futures, dissent in universities, ageing, capitalism and the Internet. Most recently he has written for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. He has been interviewed for numerous television and radio programs, including the BBC radio and Internet special on ‘Visionaries and Education in the 21st century’.


In December 2007, Inayatullah prepared a report for the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency titled. “Futures Studies in Asia: Players and Institutions,” It was presented at the Third Global Knowledge Conference, Kuala Lumpur, December 2007. In October 2005, Inayatullah (and Daffara) prepared a report for Pine Rivers Shire Council on Trends and Scenarios impacting the Shire. In April 2005, Inayatullah prepared a report for Queensland Education on Alternative Futures of Education. In 2003, Inayatullah prepared a policy futures report for the Queensland Department of Families on the Futures of Ageing. In 2002, he prepared major social and environmental scans for Brisbane City Council (‘Scanning for City Futures’ and ‘Alternative Scenarios for E–governance and Regionalization for Brisbane City Futures’), and for the Victoria Department of Justice, Office of Correctional Services Commissioner (‘Scanning for Correctional Futures’). In 2001, he prepared a similar scan for the Judiciary, Victoria Department of Justice (‘Scanning for Justice’). In addition, he prepared a report for the Foundation For the Future, titled ‘Methodological Aspects of Humanity’s Long–Term Future’, and a report for the Western Agri–Food Institute (Western Canada) on the ‘Futures of Food/Agriculture/Farming’. In 1999, he completed a UNESCO research project, in association with the World Futures Studies Federation, on culturally appropriate information and communication technologies.


In the past two years, among other groups, he has addressed or conducted foresight workshops for the Australian Federal Police; Brisbane Ideas Festival; Bluescope Steel; John Holland; Ernst and Young; Microsoft Innovative Schools; the World Congress of Health Professionals; Queensland Health Nursing Conference; the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Association; Australia Bio-security; the Faculty Chief Procurement Officers Conference; the Global Knowledge Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the Office of the Prime Minister, Singapore; the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore; the Singapore Armed Forces; the Indonesia 2014 and Beyond Forum; the Western Australia Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Western Australia Police; numerous Queensland Government Departments including Main Roads, Education and Health, and a number of city councils including the Gold Coast City Council.

Workshops and Courses

Inayatullah has conducted planning–visioning workshops in more than a dozen countries. In the 1990s, for the World Futures Studies Federation, he taught international courses on a range of issues including education, ecology, development, and policymaking, in Andorra, Fiji, Thailand, and Malaysia. In the past few years he has given keynote, plenary, or public lectures on a range of subjects in Austria, Luxembourg, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Pakistan, Malaysia, Holland, Australia, Yugoslavia, Greece, India, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Japan.

In Australia he has run Futures–Oriented Policy courses for Maroochy Shire Council, Brisbane City Council, Gold Coast City Council, Logan City Council, Queensland Tourism, Racing and Fair Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Farming (Division of Animal Welfare and Product Integrity).

Internationally he has run foresight courses for the Organization of the Islamic Conference Standing Committee on Science and Technology (Islamabad), IBN International in Kuala Lumpur, and Apec Technology Foresight Division (Bangkok)

He co-teaches an annual foresight course (Futures thinking and strategy development) for CEOs and senior managers at Mt Eliza Executive Education, Melbourne Business School, Melbourne.

See essays by this author:
Forecasts and Alternative Futures
Rethinking Science and Culture: P.R. Sarkar's Reconstruction of Science and Society
The Rights of Robots: Technology, Culture and Law in the 21st Century
The Rights of Your Robots: Exclusion and Inclusion in History and Future