Time of Politics, Politics of Time, Politicized Time
Venue: German Historical Institute London
Date: 5-9 May 2020
Closing date: 30 April 2019
Time is so deeply interwoven with all aspects of politics that its fundamental importance is frequently overlooked. Building on the work of Charles Maier and Christopher Clark, we define chronopolitics as research into ‘how politics is about time’ as well as what kind of time is ‘presupposed by politics’ (Clark), how the perception of time and change affect decision-making and how concepts of time and history give meaning and legitimacy to political actors, groups and ideas. However, instead of taking time as a given, we set out to analyse how it is socially and culturally constructed through political and scholarly practices.
On first glance, politics and time coincide as policy makers are constantly making decisions in the present, against the background of a past and in the name of a future. Yet, in order to scrutinize the nexus between time and politics more closely, it is necessary to differentiate.
We are looking for submissions on the following dimensions/aspects of chronopolitics:
(1) The time of politics refers to the arena of the decision-making process and to the changing rhythms and durations within which politics take place. As George W. Wallis argued, the time of politics is a ‘time of transition’ in which political players lay the foundations of tomorrow or forgo doing so. It is subject to formalizations such as terms of offices or legislative sessions; its configuration is radically altered if the present is perceived as crisis, and it is structured by expectations and fears.
(2) The politics of time on the other hand refers to the regulation, synchronisation and allocation of time by politics. The object of this chronopolitical dimension is an allegedly objective, physical ‘clock time’, whose measurement and standardization both on national and global scales have lately been drawing much attention, as have also debates about calendar reforms, daylight saving time or the length of the working day. In the latter cases time figures as a ‘scarce social resource’, as Charles S. Maier notes, usage of which can be contested and distributed.
(3) Politicized time is time employed as a weapon of politics, as a means of legitimising one’s own programme, challenging and discrediting political opponents or opposing political views. Whether advocating change or continuity, politicians refer as much to the past for orientation and legitimation, as they outline futures. Progressive versus conservative – the very categories of political differentiation since the French Revolution are temporal ones. Recently, Brexit and Trump have both been portrayed in terms of a temporal politics, as indicative of ‘being stuck in the past’ or the nostalgic yearning for a Golden Age.
(4) A subset of politicized time poses particularly pressing questions we hope to discuss, i.e. the politics of (de)synchronisation. Civilizing missions, development and modernizing projects – in the colonial periphery as well as at the nation’s margins – were based on a temporalization of the other that Johannes Fabian aptly named the ‘denial of coevalness’. Yet, while temporal exclusion and stratification lay at the heart of ‘modern’ chronopolitics, it also comprised the promise of coevalness. Chronopolitics was about fighting anachronism, making history and accelerating its course.
(5) When it comes to chronopolitics, historians as well as scholars of further ‘historicist’ disciplines such as anthropology neither were nor are mere observers. In fact, these disciplines are among the main producers of ‘the characteristic images of history and temporal order’ (Maier) that both inform chronopolitics and constitute its very object. Thus, we would like to critically reflect these images and – following the lead of Reinhart Koselleck, Achim Landwehr, Ethan Kleinberg and others – discuss alternatives to more or less hegemonic historicist temporality. We invite scholars to explore concepts such as pluritemporality but also to historicise chronopolitics of ‘pre-modern’ periods and to reflect the pre-occupation with modernity and the emergence of modern time regimes. We are particularly interested in case-studies probing into the coexistence and clashes of different temporal imaginaries and postcolonial, feminist or queer temporalities, and in papers explicitly addressing the modern/pre-modern dichotomy.
Organized by Tobias Becker, Christina Brauner and Fernando Esposito for the Arbeitskreis Geschichte + Theorie in conjunction with the German Historical Institute London, the international conference aims at bringing together scholars from across different periods and disciplines (such as history, art history, philosophy, anthropology, ethnology, sociology, economics, literary, cultural, gender and queer studies). We invite proposals for presentations (20 min) that combine an interest in theory with empirical case studies.
Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, along with a short CV, by 30 April 2019 to chronopolitics(@)ghil.ac.uk. The conference will take place at the German Historical Institute from 5 to 9 May 2020. Subject to a successful funding bid, costs for travel and accommodation will be covered.
CFP: International Medical Humanities Conference
Chronicity and Crisis: Time in the Medical Humanities
The MSU Medical Humanities Program and ‘Waiting Times’ (a Wellcome Trust funded research project based at the University of Exeter and Birkbeck, University of London, UK) are pleased to announce an international conference on the theme of “Chronicity and Crisis” to be held at Montclair State University, New Jersey, on October 26-27, 2019. The conference organizers welcome submissions of abstracts to be sent to Dr. Jefferson Gatrall by April 1, 2019. (gatrallj (at) montclair.edu).
Dr. Mark Solms. Chair, Neuropsychology, University of Cape Town & Groote Schuur Hospital
Title: “A Man Who Got Lost in Time: Feeling and Uncertainty in the Face of Oblivion”
Dr. Rishi Goyal. Director, Medicine, Literature and Society Program, Columbia University
Title: “Crisis, Catastrophe and Emergency: Disentangling Temporal Patterns of Care and Response”
The conference will bring together scholars from the humanities and social sciences as well as the psychosocial disciplines, health studies, and biomedicine to examine how the concepts of chronicity and crisis inform historical and contemporary understandings of health, illness and wellbeing. “Chronicity and Crisis” aims to open up the relationship between the long term and the urgent in order to address a range of questions in individual, social and global health.
The temporal aligning of care and illness — the potentially long time-frames of care as juxtaposed to the urgency of acute interventions — factors into the success of diverse medical treatments. From the prioritization of wait times in emergency centers to approvals by insurance companies and the monitoring of chronic physical and mental illnesses, care is determined by more than the treatment at hand. Likewise, adverse public health outcomes arise from social inequities and inequalities of long historical duration, including the chronic legacies of colonial violence, the inaccessibility of public spaces for the less abled, the health risks of environmental neglect, or gender imbalances in the subjects of medical research. The narrative markers of onset, frequency, and remission inform how the experiences of sudden and chronic illnesses are communicated, from self-reporting and clinical records to medical fiction, biography, and memoir.
The conference will structure and develop conversations between those with interests in general practice, psychotherapy, disability studies, palliative care, end-of-life care, narrative medicine, public health, medical anthropology, medical history, literature and medicine and body studies, and researchers addressing questions of care and temporality within fields such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, critical and cultural studies, gender studies and Black studies.
Subjects that may be explored include, but are not limited to, the following:
Lisa Baraitser (ubps005 (at) mail.bbk.ac.uk)
Jefferson Gatrall (gartrallj (at) montclair.edu)
Lois Oppenheim (oppenheiml (at) montclair.edu)
Laura Salisbury (l.a.salisbury (at) exeter.ac.uk)
Full report now available from our open space event Timely Methods for Novel Times!
Our curated listing of events and news related to time, temporality and social life.