Chronopolitics. Time of Politics, Politics of Time, Politicized Time

14.05.-16.05.2020, Konferenz, DHI London

Conference to be held at the German Historical Institute London 14-16 May 2020.
Convenors: Tobias Becker (GHIL), Christina Brauner (University of Tübingen) and Fernando Esposito (University of Konstanz);
organised in co-operation with the Arbeitskreis Geschichte+Theorie.

Time is so deeply interwoven with all aspects of politics that its importance is frequently overlooked: politics relies on time, timelines and timing; time can be an instrument and also a subject of politics. Clock time, summertime, calendars, working hours and leisure time impact everyday orders of time. Political actors use time as a resource as well as to legitimize or delegitimize policies and politics, for instance, when differentiating between conservatives and progressives or when constructing “primitives” existing outside of (modern) time as objects of civilizing missions, development aid and modernizing projects. More generally, politics aims at creating futures in the presence—or at preventing them from being created. The “politics of time” is strongly connected to the question, how social change is understood and managed.

The international, interdisciplinary conference “Chronopolitics: Time of Politics, Politics of Time, Politicized Time” engages with exactly these issues and interrelations. It aims to systematize the debates about chronopolitics, temporality and historicity and to bring together researchers working on these subjects. The emphasis on chronopolitics also connects traditional fields of historical inquiry—politics, society, economy—with the history of temporalities, showing, in this way, that it has relevance outside of its immediate subject. The conference also wants to trigger reflections how historiography and related disciplines are themselves producers of “characteristic images of history and temporal order“ (Charles Maier). Neither time nor history are ahistorical givens but are changeable and have their own histories and are thus in need of historical investigation.

The first panel “Synchronicity. The Simplification and Coordination of Time” is looks at the construction of non-synchronicities or temporalities of difference, while the second, “(Post)Colonial Temporalities, or: Pluritemporality”, exploes conflicts between colonial or Western and local temporal regimes, thus, trying to break up the eurocentrism that is also a chronocentrism. The third panel, “Ideological Temporalities from Communist to ‘Neoliberal’”, studies the transformation of ideological temporalities in the last third of the twentieth century focussing on (post-)communist and neoliberal temporalities. The fourth st panel, “A Tale of Many Historicities”, focusses on historicity as a specific form of temporality. It takes up the critique of a history in the singular, closely entangled with teleological narratives of modernisation and the call for pluritemporal histories.

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