Mobility, Time & Political Possibility
Deconstructed diasporic workshop
New School for Social Research
Loren B Landau
University of Oxford & Witwatersrand
Mobility, Time and Political Possibilities is a year-long virtual writing workshop running from early 2021 and culminating in an in-person even in early 2022. We envisage a small, but committed group of scholars meeting monthly, in camera, to share and critically engage each other’s work-in-progress, on a rotating basis. Our aim is to produce a provocative interdisciplinary edited volume or special issue, via a collaborative and iterative process.
The regulation of human mobility via the use of time has attracted much recent scholarly attention. Much of this work is concerned with waiting, stoppage, deferral and delay as disciplinary techniques or by-product. Rarely is time and its manipulation framed as a form of elusion or liberation. Less often still, is the time at stake in these techniques, itself submitted to critical inquiry. Does waiting, for example, imply an interruption, and sometimes a form of injustice, only because of assumptions about the progressive direction in which time is expected to flow? Distinguishing specific measures of time from the notion of temporalities – that is, ways of knowing and ordering time - opens up a larger set of questions about space-time parameters according to which mobilities are governed, and futures are imagined and desired. How might processual, quantum, Indigenous or other ways of conceptualizing time be brought to bear on thinking about mobility and its horizons?
Our intention is not to produce an almanac of the miserable: a series of studies into forms of waiting or frustrated futures manifested across the globe. Rather, it is to consider how temporal forms of exclusion, alienation, marginalisation and manipulation underlie governance –broadly conceived – and open possibilities for transforming political futures.
On one hand, we are interested in the imbrication of time and temporality with mechanisms for racialisation, spatialization, expropriation, displacement and extraction. This includes attending to how states deploy time (and its miscounting) to police national boundaries by developing legal manoeuvres that separate the chronological advancement of the clock from the counting of time under the mantle of the law. By pegging rights to specific legal statuses, and counting the time of different statuses differently, states can suspend, slow down, or speed up chronological time in order to exclude, delay, or (conversely) hasten the inclusion of particular non-citizen residents The politically strategic use of time is not only about control of mobility per se, but also about naming, categorizing, and emplacing in temporal terms (as advanced or backwards, primitive, or modern for example). On the other hand, we want to consider how time and temporality intersect with resistance, critique and the cultivation of alternative political formations, including modes of hospitality and welcome, political community, and justice.
How do plural temporalities provide new reference points from which to examine the forms of power at stake in questions of mobility and from which to signal other kinds of mobile aspirations beyond integration into progressive/developmental futures. If time is a discipline, what forms of ill-discipline do multi-temporalities create? How might they operate as forms of intentional or de facto resistance, deploying, what Lefebvre calls polyrhythmicity that makes governing more difficult? Or that generates what Deleuze and Guattari label ‘nomadic power’? How do varied spatio-temporal conceptions of the political present open or curtail the possibility of collective mobilization? What subjects emerge at these points of intersection and disjuncture? What kinds of maps might be drawn to capture the intersection of space, time and mobility imagined and experienced in other ways? What visual and aesthetic vocabularies might be deployed for the same purpose? What histories might inform this openness to temporalities in play? What methodologies are needed to investigate them? Where, when and how do we focus our inquiries?
The goal is a collection that is both conceptually and methodologically provocative: outlining new themes, approaches, and considerations for the socio-spatial and political study of human mobility.
Those interested in participating are requested to submit a 500-750 word abstract by 19 October 2020. A committee will assess the abstracts and provide potential participants additional details in early November 2020. As an interdisciplinary workshop, we welcome participants from across the social sciences working from all methodological and theoretical perspectives. We particularly encourage submissions from emerging scholars and people working in and on sites outside Europe and North America.
All abstracts and queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Papers
International Society for the Study of Time (ISST)
Eighteenth Triennial Conference
June 26-July 1, 2022 / Yamaguchi, Japan
Time and Measure
Proposals (300 words) due by August 15, 2021
The ISST, renowned for its interdisciplinary scope, invites scientists, scholars, artists and
practitioners to explore questions concerning Time and Measure at its 18th Triennial Conference
to be held in collaboration with the Research Institute of Time Studies (RITS) at Yamaguchi
University in South-Western Japan. Our format of plenary presentations delivered over four days
creates a sustained discussion among participants. We thus expect participants to register for the
entirety of the conference. We shall take a day off mid-conference and provide participants a
choice of time-related excursions in the Yamaguchi area, the site of crucial events at various
turning points in Japanese history .
Because of worldwide uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, we shall be considering
whether and how we may allow for online conference participation. Further information will
For its 2022 Triennial, the ISST wishes to instigate discussion of all the kinds of temporal
measure—both quantitative and qualitative—which are the work of our different professional
disciplines and some of which may also prove to be cross-disciplinary. When asked about time
and its measure, most people would think of clocks: an even progression of numbers. This view
goes back to Aristotle’s definition of time (in Physics IV) as “the count [arithmos] of changing in
respect of before and after.” As recent events have made us aware, however, times of crisis may
require other measures. Political crises or a crisis like the pandemic seem to impose their own
measure of time. Crisis thus throws into relief the fact that not all times are equal—something
that musicians, strategists and physicians have always known; these professionals and others
have had to develop their own systems of taking time’s measure–some dependent on clocks,
--time, measure, money and generosity
--history as the measure or mismeasure of time
--the measurement of public vs individual time
--tense/aspect, mood, person and voice in languages
--measurement as determining our understanding of the measured
--the limits of measuring time
Guidelines/Timeline for Proposals
Proposals will be for 20-minute presentations in diverse formats: scholarly paper, debate, performance, overview of creative work, installation, workshop. Proposals for interdisciplinary panels are especially welcome. (Each paper for a panel must be approved by the selection committee.) All work will be presented in English and should strike a balance between expertise in an area of specialization and accessibility to a general intellectual audience. Proposals, no more than 300 words in length, are submitted electronically. The author’s or authors’ name(s) should not appear in the proposal as the ISST does blind reviewing in selecting papers for its conferences. The deadline for submission is August 15,
2021, with acceptances communicated by December 15, 2021. The Society also seeks session
chairs, whose names will be included on the printed conference program.
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.