September 28–30, 2017, Bayreuth, Germany
Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies
Working Group ‘Waiting for Futures’
Africa’s futures, Goldstein and Obarrio (2016: 13) remark, seem to be ‘engulfed by a continuous present’. Economic exigencies, neopatrimonial dependencies, conflicts, displacements, inequalities and a widespread insecurity about day-to-day routines have epistemic repercussions: the present’s obtrusiveness limits horizons of expectation, perpetually postponing the creation of meaningful futures. Simultaneously, and seemingly paradoxically, for many people in Africa the main state of being is one of anticipatory alignment towards possible futures – a state that is principally tantamount to waiting. People wait for work and (social) adulthood; for opportunities for education, migration and curative treatment; for stability, prosperity, redemption etc. At the same time, ‘works of waiting’ are also ubiquitous in more quotidian realms, such as transport, bureaucracy and ICTs.
Whether experienced as suffering or deferred gratification, as a ‘wasting’ of time or an ‘investment’ in the proverbial better-times-to-come, waiting portends that the future will be qualitatively different from the present. While waiting, people engage in and expect something from the future and, ultimately, from life, ascribing value to what is forthcoming, whether near or far. Waiting, seen from this angle, emerges as both a gap and a link between present and future. Waiting might be experienced as a temporal void or an instrument for submission, leading people to resign to fate or into states of rage, frustration or even apathy. Yet it might also surface as a possibility for muse or for tempting fate by exercising faith, hope, patience and, ultimately, agency. States of waiting tend to restructure temporality in such ways that present and past are engaging the future as a possibility for difference, whether this pertains to social, economic, political, religious, imaginative, existential or utterly mundane positioning.
In this interdisciplinary workshop, we want to attend to the multifaceted nature of waiting from an Africanist perspective. We invite empirical or theoretical contributions from across the social sciences and cultural studies to explore practices, experiences, affects, contexts and consequences of waiting in Africa and among African diasporas. By zeroing in on the different ways in which people engage with temporalities of waiting, be it through modes of expectancy, patience, perseverance, creed, anxiety, powerlessness or indifference, we wish to strengthen the theoretical purchase that the perspective on waiting offers. Set against the overarching topic of waiting in Africa, the primary aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for discussing different approaches towards waiting as both a descriptive and an analytical category, as well as for reflecting on the methodological challenges implied in the study of situations of waiting.
We plan to invite up to fifteen participants, each contributing a paper of about twenty to thirty minutes followed by time for discussion, and with ample opportunity for exchange outside the formal session setting. The Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies will account for lodging and reasonable travel expenses. As an outcome of the workshop, we envisage a joint publication.
If interested, please send a 300-word abstract to Valerie Hänsch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Serawit B. Debele <email@example.com> and Michael Stasik <firstname.lastname@example.org> by April 30, 2017.
The Pathologies of Time: Stability and its Discontents
Timothy Barker’s 2012 book, Time and the Digital, collated perspectives on time in Deleuze, Serres, and Whitehead to theorize a notion of time that is thick, dynamic, and multiple, clarifying the notion that all aspects art, scientific inquiry, and everyday life are involved in a complex becoming inside the operations of flexible, unpredictable movements of time. The idea of continual becoming has been circulating for some time now and informs work by Elizabeth Grosz, Karen Barad, Barbara Bolt, and others as they theorize the ability of subjects and objects to transform each other in an a-linear manner, through their situated relations. What this complex notion of time also carries is a groundlessness that can be considered unstable, unreliable, and even pathological. While we might be excited about the possibilities of non-linear, a-logical time, we also are often compelled to meet it with the need to normalize it or make it recognizable and “healthy.”
This panel is proposed for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts annual meeting where the topic of inquiry is “Out of Time.” The organizers seek to develop a conversation that entertains questions around how pathologies of subjectivity, relational dynamics, and sociability (i.e., illness, dysfunction, disruption) can be considered in complex orders of time, such as digital or queer, beyond the need to resolve the pathology or to impose well-known structures of stability. The reaction to the horrors of disorder and chaos largely consists of balancing gestures intended to return the situation to stasis. We wonder what other responses to instability might be of interest as we consider the prospects for navigating the elastic complexities of a‑normative time.
Areas of interest could include, but are never limited to, haunted time, disabled time, disruption and stability, queer time, ludic time, Trump time, or affective time. Papers that consider art, media, social movements, and everyday life as aesthetic performances of complex time relative to the topic are especially welcome.
Please send abstracts of 300 words with a brief biographical statement to email@example.com with the subject “SLSA Panel Submission.” The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2017.
The conference will be in Phoenix, AZ, November 9-12, 2017.
The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts welcomes colleagues in the sciences, engineering, technology, computer science, medicine, the social sciences, the humanities, the arts, and independent scholars and artists. SLSA members share an interest in problems of science and representation, and in the cultural and social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine. Their website is litsciarts.org.
Conference of Irish Geographers, University College Cork.
Thursday 4 May - Saturday 6 May 2017.
Call for Papers (Deadline 20th March 2017). Early bird registration closes 20th March.
Organisers: Temporality in the City. Rachel.McArdle@nuim.ie
Space and time are key concepts in Geography but often space is prioritised over time. Temporality within the urban is often focused on understanding temporary uses of vacant spaces and this has been an increasing narrative in the literature in recent years. These types of temporary uses are often critiqued as fitting neatly into neoliberal city agendas (O’ Callaghan and Lawton, 201). The often temporariness of these sites can lessen their impact on urban discourse, thus, in this session we want to illustrate alternative narratives of temporariness. We wish to explore temporality more broadly to include not only temporary spaces, but also events in the city which are temporary, such as emergencies or politics. Exploring issues such as, in what ways do these narratives merge, diverge, illuminate one another, and create one another? What can be learned from expanding the concepts of temporary use to other examples in the city? Examples could include the temporariness of emergencies, elected officials, governance and acts of governmentality, public response, protest, technology, governance and work amongst others. Simply, this session is interested in exploring the idea of urban temporariness, which is seen as a distinct form of modernity (Benko, 1997), beyond just its effects on spaces but on how they are connected and constantly re-create, sustain and dismantle each other.
Thus, this session is not prescriptive and welcomes academics and postgraduate students interested in urban temporality and its effect on different urban systems, infrastructures, phenomenon’s and issues. We particularly welcome case studies that add to the limited empirical work in the area of urban temporality in the context of permanent systems with a temporary element such as emergencies and elected officials.
Areas of potential interest for research papers may include, but are not limited to:
Instructions for authors
Please submit your abstract through the CIG paper abstract form and select 'Temporality in the City' as the themed session and forward your abstract and interest to session convenors. Form can be found here: http://www.conferenceofirishgeographers.ie/abstract-submission-form-c1r5x
Please note: You cannot submit an abstract until you have registered for the conference which we urge you to do asap.
The expected format is 15 minutes with 5 minutes for Q&A but is subject to change.
New article published reflecting on our online conference, and how we designed for conviviality.
Our curated listing of events and news related to time, temporality and social life.