I first became interested in the interconnections between time and community while I was writing my undergraduate (honours) thesis on Donna Haraway’s work and its implications for feminist coalition building. Looking at both her and Gloria Anzaldua’s work on hybrid identities it seemed that attempts to rethink community in terms of hybridity also appeared to involve challenges to linear conceptions of time, involving for example, critiques of teleology, progress and assumptions about how change happens over time. I took up this problem in my PhD thesis in Philosophy. However I found it quite difficult to approach this problem in the way I wanted to from a solely continental philosophical framework, and was particularly inspired by Carol Greenhouse’s work to explore the way the time of social life can be understood as being produced through the negotiation of social conflict. As a result I ended up developing an interdisciplinary approach to ‘time and community’ that draws on anthropology, sociology, feminist philosophy as well as continental philosophy.
My current project builds on this work, in order to develop an account of the way both time and community are being transformed in the context of climate change and resource depletion. Taking inspiration from Donna Haraway’s account of figurations as ‘condensed maps of contested worlds’ (1997, 11), I will produce case studies of three figures that might instead serve as ‘condensed clocks of contested worlds’. Looking at atomic and molecular clocks, leather-back turtles on the verge of extinction and community-led attempts to build sustainable cities, I want to analyse how an attentiveness to each of these different sites opens up a view onto the complex temporalities and relationalities that are being mobilised. It is envisioned that these ‘condensed clocks’ may enable new ways of understanding the task of ‘telling the time’ in the current context. This work involves a variety of collaborations including with Transition Liverpool and other members of the Extinction Studies working group.
While completing my PhD I often felt a little lost in the wilderness, with very few guides for how to approach the problems of time and community together in the way that I wanted to – at least none that I could find at the time! While there is certainly some enjoyment in feeling this way, I’m very much looking forward to working with others at the workshop to start developing a more explicit framework for thinking through these intersections.
I am currently a 2nd year PhD student in International Politics at Aberystwyth University. Prior to this, I lived for a long time and studied occasionally in Lawrence, Kansas, a mid-sized university town where my interest in time first emerged (although had I been paying closer attention, it could easily have sparked an interest in community as well). My research builds on this interest, and I am generally intrigued by all things time (philosophy, sociology, history of—in particular if anyone can explicate a mechanical clock escapement...), and a few specific things about community such as political, phenomenological, and identity facets. My hopes for the workshop are to 1) be part of a broad interdisciplinary discussion about time, and 2) to develop tools to pursue an inquiry of the relationship between time and community. With regard to the latter, I am particularly concerned with whether the following hunches are plausible: 1) that communities self-constitute in and against time, and 2) that they are (often/always?) political projects which depend on some disciplining or taming of a Western concept of time.
Andrew's Lightning Talk