Beyond the Clock: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Time
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
15-16 March 2019
Jimena Canales (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Stephen Kern (The Ohio State University)
The “Beyond the Clock” Symposium brings together scholars from the humanities and social
sciences for two days of presentations and discussions on what might be called the third
generation of temporality studies.
Before the 1990s, most scholars of temporality followed Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel in
focusing on abstract, rationalized time as a unifying central force of modern social life and
its cultural productions. In the 1960s, E.P. Thompson famously placed this force on historical
footing by contrasting pre-modern task-oriented society with post-industrial timed-labor
society. A generation later, Benedict Anderson envisioned an “empty, homogenous time” as
the foundation of the modern nation state. These thinkers established the importance of
rationalized time to modern labor practices, to the postcolonial social imagination, and to
art and literature, among other scholarly concerns.
In the new millennium, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, and literary
scholars have pioneered more pluralistic approaches to time, challenging the assumption
that a single model of time prevails in any given society or nation. In the last decade,
scholars in particular have shifted their attention from rationalized and synchronous clock
time to the mobile, compressed, and/or dilated time of the knowledge economy or the
anthropocene. This new approach is evident across a staggering range of disciplines: critical
theorists Harmut Rosa and Sarah Sharma’s consideration of the problem of “social
acceleration,” sociologist Benjamin Snyder’s exploration of “flexible time” in the post-
Taylorist workplace, engineer and historian of science Jimena Canales’ deconstruction of
physics’ reliance on metaphorical clocks, and historian Stephen Kern’s re-examination of the
“culture of time and space” in the electronic age. This symposium aims to bring these
parallel social, cultural, and philosophical engagements into a collective conversation on
time in its irrational, disparate, and fascinating forms.
Possible Topics May Include:
Please send a short bio and 250-word abstracts for individual papers (15-20 minutes) to
Justin Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kevin Riordan (email@example.com). Proposals
will be considered on a rolling basis from now until 15 September 2018.
Memories of the Future
International conference. Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Dates: 29-30 March 2019
Confirmed speakers: Stephen Bann (Bristol); Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths); Paolo Jedlowski (Calabria); Anna Reading (KCL); Michael Rothberg (UCLA)
Proposals for panels or papers by 31 July 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for papers
What does it mean to remember the future? What roles do memory, history, the past play in our consciousness as citizens of the early twenty-first century?
David Lowenthal (2015) reminds us that 'commands to forget coexist with zeal to commemorate', which raises the very important yet often overlooked questions of: what to remember and what to forget, who is well positioned to lead on or judge in that process, with whose legacies in mind, and with what consequences for future and past generations. In the 1980s, a significant body of scholarship on cultural memory emerged to protect the past from ‘time’s corrosive energy’, leading to ‘collective future thought’ (J. Assmann, 2011; Szpunar and Szpunar, 2016). Cultural memory acted as a moral imperative, a prerequisite to overcome not merely violent pasts but the violence inherent in linear temporality. As such, cultural memory has been seen as redemptive, enabling a more productive relation between past, present and future.
More recently, ‘thinking forward through the past’ has been central to a number of AHRC-funded projects in the UK examining environmental change, postcolonial disaster, gender and colonialism, heritage futures, ruins and more. Climate change, big data and the crisis of democracy are challenging our future in ways that may suggest a misalignment of temporal scales. One way of responding to this is through what Reinhart Koselleck (2000) called horizons of expectations and spaces of experience, namely, the horizons implicit in our anticipations of the future and the degree to which our experience of these have changed and will change over time. Utopian imaginaries and deploying utopia as a method (Levitas, 2013) invite us to think about hope, empathy, and solidarity, each contributing to create different places from which to imagine a future outside crises, fears and risk.
The past and the future constitute our cultural horizons in ways which are neither neutral nor solely technical, but, as Appadurai (2013) has suggested, ‘shot through with affect and sensation’. One of the key challenges of our time is how to study and create futures we truly care for and which are more social (Adam and Groves 2007; Urry, 2016).
Memories of the Future invites contributions to articulate the future in relation to cultural memory, and interrogate the precise and diverse manners in which the past, the present and the future are intertwined and dialogical, complicating our understanding of temporalities in an age saturated with memory and ‘past futures’.
Suggested themes and areas of inquiry include:
Please submit proposals for panels or papers (max 20 minutes) by 31 July 2018 to email@example.com, including a 150-250 words abstract.
(S.Arnold-de Simine (BBK) C.López Galviz (Lancaster) G.Panteli (UCL) K.Pizzi (IMLR) J.Siebers (Middlesex)
Call for papers: Exploring Legacies of Injustice and Inequality; Enabling Just and Equal Futures, OLIRN event, University of Edinburgh, 3rd and 4th December 2018.
Papers are invited documenting legacies of injustice and inequality, imagining, debating and demonstrating ways of enabling more just and equal futures. Topics might include (but are not limited to):legacies of deindustrialisation and poverty, reconfiguring economies and class, gender and generational equality; climate change and legacies of sustainable practices, and futures or environmental and generational justice; migration, de-colonialisation, and human rights; reconfiguring incarceration; child protection; Stolen Generations in Australia, Canada and Sweden; conflict and war; sexual violence; reimagining disability; aging and health; gender equality and intergenerational care; treatment of same sex relationships, re-imagining policy and practice futures
Key Note (to be confirmed): Matthew Waites will speak on ‘Contesting LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth’,
The deadline for abstracts is 17th September. Send a 150 page word abstract to Helen.Walker@ed.ac.uk with your contact details. Further details will appear on www.crfr.ac.uk in August. The local organisers are Lynn Jamieson and Mary Holmes in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh and the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.
Ongoing Legacies International Research Network (OLIRN)
This research network interrogates contemporary and future approaches to the ongoing impact of social injustice and inequalities associated with four research fields and their intersections
This is a relatively new international and interdisciplinary network of academics initiated by Chris Beasley in Adelaide, with links to government and community sector professionals origination with and linking the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender at the University of Adelaide and Wirltu Yarlu (Australia) with the Research at the Intersections of Gender (RIG) Initiative (Canada), and in 2018/19 with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (UK) and the GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (Sweden).
The project had an inception network workshop in Adelaide in December 2017 exploring the dynamics of the four research fields (gender, sexuality, ethnicity and indigeneity), with regard to
(1) interconnections between past and present which frame future possibilities regarding social injustice and inequalities (see Johnson 2005; Tremblay, Patternote and Johnson 2011; Marks and Warboys 2003), and
(2) interconnections between different conceptual axes and practices of power which have implications for future policy development (that is, the ‘intersectionality’ between gender and specific other axes like sexuality, ethnicity and indigeneity—Beasley 2005; Herzog 2008; Koehn et al 2013).
This focus on temporality and intersectionality signals that attending to a singular disconnected time-frame or to a singular axis of power such as gender may reiterate privilege and result in limited understandings of problems. By contrast, bringing these four research fields into active engagement with each other involves an innovative research agenda furthered by inter-institutional, international and interdisciplinary collaboration. The intention is that the workshop will enable research clusters to emerge around specific topics which can reflect temporal/intersectional concerns.
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.