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.
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