The following scholars will give plenary lectures and parallel session keynotes:
Geoffrey C. Bowker, Professor, Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine. Trained in the philosophy and history of science, he has done ground-breaking work in the study of information management, classification systems and distributed scientific work in a digital environment. Among his best-known books are Science on the Run (1994) and Sorting Things Out (1999), co-written with Susan Leigh Star.
Title: The times they are a-changin’. Wed. 11:15, GS aud. 2
Anders Ekström, Professor of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University. His general fields of interest are media and cultural history, visual culture and cultural theory, and much of his research has been focused on the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ekström's current research explores the long-term history of representing natural disasters and other extreme events.
Title: Times of disaster imagery. Thurs. 12:45 GS aud.2
Penny Harvey, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester. She has carried out fieldwork in the Andes, the Peruvian Amazon, Spain and the UK, and has focused in particular on knowledge regimes, the politics of communication, environmental questions and change. Her current work concerns an ethnography of roads in Peru, indicating not only how roads change the mental and physical geography of a place, but also how they contribute to a shift in the temporal regime.
Title: Inauguration and the time of the infrastructural. Wed. 13:15 GS aud.2
Lynn Hunt, Distinguished Professor of History and Eugen Weber Endowed Chair in Modern European History at University of California, Los Angeles. For a long time she has been one of the leading scholars world-wide in French and European history, including gender history and cultural history, as well as the history of historiography and the theory of history. Her most recent books examine the origins of human rights in the eighteenth century, Inventing Human Rights (2007), the question of time and history writing, Measuring Time: Making History (2008).
Title: Why time now? Thurs. 10:45 GS aud.2
Lucian Hölscher, Professor for modern history and the theory of history at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Over many years he has made seminal contributions to the fields of historical semantics and the theory of historical times. At the same time he has been – and still is – engaged in writing the history of political and religious movements in Germany and Europe. His latest books are Die Semantik der Leere (2009) and the first volume of Geschichte der protestantischen Frömmigkeit (2005).
Title: Time Gardens. Structures of temporality in modern historiography. Fri. 13:00 GS room 2
Bruno Latour, Professor, Sciences Po, Paris, and the scientific director of the Sciences Po Medialab. Since the publication of Laboratory Life (with Steve Woolgar) in 1979 his works in the sociology of science have had a unique impact on the social and human sciences, especially on what is now known as Science and Technology Studies (STS). Not least he has been one of the main contributors to and developers of actor-network theory (ANT). Alongside his many essays and books he has also curated exhibitions and, lately, written a play.
Title: Kosmokoloss. Thurs. 15:15 GS aud.1
Stephanie Marriott, Head of the School of Creative Studies and Media at Bangor University, Wales. She researches the phenomenology of media - particularly of live television. She has analyzed in-depth the ways television produces the moment and the event for its absent audiences. Her publications include the monograph Live Television: Time, Space and the Broadcast Event (Sage, 2007).
Title: Momentous news and the phenomenology of the live event. Thurs. 8:30 GS room 2
John Durham Peters, A. Craig Bard Professor of Commuication Studies at the University of Iowa. With his first book Speaking Into the Air Peters provided a highly influential history of the idea of communication. His recent work focuses on media in an expanded sense, seeing for instance clocks, calendars, towers and clouds as media that articulate and order time.
Title: Cultural techniques of time-keeping, especially from the sky. Fri. 11:15 GS aud.2
Veronica Strang, is a Professor of Anthropology and the Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University. She has conducted extensive research on water issues, particularly in Australia and the UK. In 2007 she was named as one of UNESCO’s Les Lumières de L’Eau. Her recent books include The Meaning of Water (Berg 2004); Gardening the World: agency, identity and the ownership of water (Berghahn 2009) and (with Mark Busse) Ownership and Appropriation (Berg 2010).
Title: On the matter of time. Wed. 15:30 GS aud.2
Throughout the past few centuries, new sets of temporalities have come into play in our social, political and cultural lives. With Malthus, the future of our species became finite. With factory production, the present became regulated by clock time. As we went from steamships to trains to planes to the Internet, communications became ever more real-time. History has been seen as accelerating since the early nineteenth century. Globalization has led to a synchronization of world historical time so that we have come to accept a singular past.
Over this period we have increasingly recognized that we manage as well as inhabit our planet. Through examples drawn primarily from our relationship with nature, I explore the interplay of scientific, cultural and material temporalities which characterize our current condition. I argue that grasping the nature(s) of temporalities is core to rethinking the processes of change we are ineluctably engaged in; and that such a phenomenological understanding can open up the possibility of new times.
In this presentation, I will approach the temporal dimensions of disaster imagery from a long historical perspective, discussing some examples of how floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were recreated in various media cultures from the 18th century to the present. With increasing speeds of information, enabled by the widespread use of portable technologies, we tend to expect extreme nature events to be reported in (next to) real time through small screen media and the modes of witnessing that they make possible. In the late 19th century, the immediacy of news and ideas of global connectivity were instead associated with an emergent network of submarine telegraph cables. However, the acceleration of information speeds is only one way in which time is mediated in the long-term history of communicating distant disasters. Here, I will explore three other aspects in particular: 1) the intermingling of past, present and future in disaster imagery; 2) the relation between, on the one hand, the temporalities inherent in disaster discourse itself and, on the other hand, the temporal affordances of particular technologies and media cultures; 3) the rhythms (or paces) of history conveyed by disaster imagery.
This paper takes the event of an inauguration - the official opening of a road - to ask questions about the time of infrastructure. Star’s suggestion that we might consider the ‘when’ of infrastructural form, the point at which socio-techcnical relations assume a systemic quality, poses an ethnographic challenge. Infrastructural systems - such as a road network - are enduringly incomplete. The fabric of the system oscillates between the not yet constructed and the already disintegrating. Infrastructural projects promise to transform the fabric of everyday life through the materialization of a new mode of connectivity that will give rise to new collectives. These may be more or less extensive, exclusive, and/or assertive and are imagined in multiple scales and across diverse temporal orderings. In systemic terms the transformative promise of an infrastructural project is both bound to the specificity of the technical and social configuration of its design, and to the under-specified and open-ended consequences of its construction. In these dynamic relational spaces the calculative and the speculative co-exist in the particular modes of anticipation and of longing that shape the politics of infrastructural projects. Inaugurations mark new beginnings, classically an installment under good omens. The paper sets out to describe a particular quality of the contemporary in the inauguration of a road - already in use and not yet completed - attending both to the attempt to singularise and memorialise a social and political achievement, and to launch a new future of uncertain consequence and responsibility.
Time has rarely been a central preoccupation in most social science and humanities fields, including history. This marginalization might seem especially surprising for history, a discipline presumably centrally concerned with time, but history's disinterest in the subject points to the difficulties of conceptualizing time in ways that are productive for historical research. Now, nonetheless, time is moving more toward the center of concern in many fields. Why is this happening? A look at some startling moments in the past (the year 1000, the French Revolution, and the fin-de-siècle) might provide some clues.
All investigations into the nature of historical time should start with the basic distinction of empty and embodied time. As opposed to the interest of natural scientists in distances in time i.e. how long things last, historians are rather concerned with the sequence and quality of time. They use universal time above all for the coordination of events and how they relate to one another in terms of progress and decline, evolution and realisation, etc. For this they build concrete time bodies such as epochs, biographies and national histories, where things belong together in a coherent order. For historians the empty, purely mathematical time is nothing but an instrument for comparing and setting concrete time bodies. Applied to the past and future of human societies, the empty time of the calendar would not exist at all, if we would take it but as the temporal dimension of actions and experiences.
In the qualitative understanding of historical narratives, time is always generated by constructing complex processes of actions and imaginations. In order to create a meta-phor for such structures of time in history I propose the concept of a “time garden”. What is a time garden? It is an arrangement of time structures, which gives us a concrete description of the past of human societies. As baroque gardens are composed by flower beds and pathways to move between them, so historical works are composed of epochs and narratives of different kinds. In my paper I shall present some of the most relevant elements used in the construction of historical time gardens. The material is taken from some prominent works of historical literature throughout the last centuries. In this way I want to open a new field for the comparative analysis of historiography.
The irruption of Gaia modifies the flow of time and the extension of space in ways totally surprising for modernist conceptions of progress and endless frontier. Plays have always been a powerful way to absorb the shock of global changes. An attempt is made in this play Kosmokoloss - written by Bruno Latour and a group of young artists - to underline those mutations.
Of all the varieties of ‘event-driven news’ (Livingston and Bennett, 2003: 363), it is the coverage of ‘momentous news’ (Epstein, 1973: 102) which creates the most challenges for television newsrooms. The momentous - natural disasters such as hurricanes and tidal waves; technological crises like major oil spills or nuclear power emergencies; social crises such as terrorist attacks, assassinations, or the deaths of iconic figures – is characterised, as Nohrstedt (2000:138)) writes, by a ‘tremendous surge in people’s need of information’. As a consequence, television newsrooms are confronted at the moment of breaking news with a complex set of communicative challenges and news value imperatives related to the real time coverage of the event.
Such events also pose challenges for traditional accounts of the phenomenology of liveness, which have typically located the specificity of live television in terms of the simultaneity of the event, its transmission and its reception (Heath and Skirrow 1977; Feuer 1983; Marriott 2008). This characterisation is broadly adequate for a phenomenology of classic media events such as ceremonies and large-scale live sports coverage, and for momentous events such as 9/11, where elements of the event were manifestly available in real time on camera to both broadcasters and the audience, but is more problematical in the case of those unexpected events to which television has at best a patchy and uneven access in the now of transmission and reception. In this paper I examine two events – the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, and the Utøya shootings in 2011 - with a view to demonstrating the complex phenomenology of such events as they unfold in the real time of the broadcast.
Time lies at the heart of the meaning of our lives. Time flies when we are having fun, and when we age. It is at the heart of music, probably the most meaningful but also most abstract of all the arts. We want good timing in opportunities, fortune in kairos. Time is without content. It is always vanishing; the thing that removes content, constantly sucking it into the past. My interest in the cultural techniques of time, the apparently mundane devices by which we plot our seconds and days, assumes that large philosophical questions are usefully pursued in the workings of apparently mundane devices such as calendars and clocks and such mundane flows as everyday rhythms and biochronologies. Time-keeping is a mathematical and metrical art that shows the large consequences of minute quantities. Most time-keeping practices are based on observation of the sky, one of humanity’s oldest obsessions. Many arts and sciences associated with sky watching treasure fine temporal slices such as astronomy, musical harmony, geodesy, cosmology, neurophysiology, cartography, and navigation. Precise measurement matters enormously for all of them. But cultural techniques of time-keeping are always compromises between natural cycles and cultural imperatives. The study of time-keeping media offers a more general lesson: that media, in the most abstract sense, are best understood as suspended between nature and culture, the cosmos and human need. It also suggests that some of the most meaningful media are also ones that have no explicit “content” but offer instead logistical orientation.
Anthropological analyses of temporal regimes have concentrated primarily on diverse cultural ways of understanding, representing and experiencing time. Taking a more interdisciplinary approach, and borrowing from history, archaeology and physics, this paper considers the role of materiality in the construction of ideas about temporality. It observes that what most societies have come to represent as a progressive linear force or ‘time’s arrow’ is increasingly being revealed as a multi-dimensional movement of matter through space and time. Intriguingly, the temporal constructs that most readily recognise a conflation of space and time are either those that historically precede the development of literacy and more linear narrative forms – for example the temporal regimes of Australian hunter-gatherers and indigenous South American societies – or those proposed by contemporary physics, which are similarly focused on the intense observation of material phenomena. This raises some engaging questions about whether the historical development of increasingly sophisticated artefacts for ‘time reckoning’ (and a consequent shift to literally ‘artificial’ calendars), encouraged a conceptual bifurcation between notions of time and space that is only now being theoretically reconciled.