KULH1112 – Fast Forward -The Cultural History of Time: Texts, Things, and Technologies

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Course content

In the course we will focus on time as a cultural and historical phenomenon and explore how experiences of time have changed throughout history, mainly in the Western world. Our objects of study will be texts, material objects and technologies, in which abstract and invisible time is given a physical manifestation, such as calendars, clocks, history books, paintings, tables scientific treatises, communication technologies, films and different everyday practices. Among our central question will be:

  • Time and power: Who has wanted to control time, in what ways and with what means?
  • Time and history: How does time turn into history and what forms does it assume? How is history structured into events and periods?
  • Time and society: How are social rhythms produced, at home, at work, or in political life?
  • Time and culture: Are times culturally specific? In what way? Does a specific culture have one time, or many?
  • Time and speed: Is time really accelerating, and in that case, how can that happen?

Furthermore, the class will discuss recent theories of time and temporality, especially focusing on differences and conflicts between temporal experiences and practices, often within the same social and historical setting

Learning outcome

Students who have taken this course will learn:

  • to explain how time is always linked to a broad set of experiences, practices, objects, and social orders which are culturally and historically specific.
  • to discuss the most significant research contributions dealing with social and cultural time.
  • to identify cultural objects, in  which time is represented and organized, as well as to analyze their meanings and functions.
  • to apply and critically assess theories and methods for investigating the times involved in any cultural object.
  • to place question regarding time and temporality in the broader context of cultural history
  • to understand the most decisive temporal experiences and ideas at our present historical moment, such as presentism, apocalyptic visions, man as a geological agent, social memory, the tyranny of the moment, social acceleration as well as processes of slowing down and indeed stopping, such as slow food and retreats.



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The teaching will be given as lectures and seminars.

As past of the course you need to hand in an obligatory assignement. You need to pass this to be able to and in the final exam. Infomation about the assignement will be given at the start of the semester.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The compulsary exercise has to be approved for admission to the examination.

The exam (a semester assignement) on 6-8 pages is handed in at the end of the semester. 

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The assignment- and exam texts are given in English.  


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language