CFP: The Material Life of Time due 23 October event 15-17 March 2021

15 Oct CFP: The Material Life of Time due 23 October event 15-17 March 2021

The Material Life of Time
The second international Temporal Belongings conference
15th-17th March 2021
Online via QiQo Chat

Call for papers

Much of the time of our lives is given to us by the relationships, properties and movements of worldly materialities. Atmospheric carbon has irrevocably transformed agricultural time (Kassam et al 2018), microplastics are queering reproductive time (Davis 2015), dissolvable sutures have remade the time of health, while rare earth minerals make possible the mobile phones at the heart of debates around acceleration and time squeeze (Wajcman 2008). In all of these ways and more, we see material objects — their uses, cost, manufacture, changing composition and characteristics — at the heart of modern debates about how time should be used, lived and valued.

A deeper recognition of the material lives of time thus attunes us to questions of how times are being made, where its materials are coming from, who or what is being displaced in the process, and what kinds of material practices are being called forth. How does the global race for resources in a time of climate breakdown, including for oil, gas, arable land and fresh water, make new times of migration, colonialism and dispossession? How are new bio- and medical technologies affecting embodied temporalities? How are particular generational, political or bureaucratic times out-of-synch (or not) with geological times, biological times or ecological times, and what are the consequences? What kind of resonance do concepts such as ‘modernity’, ‘post-modernity’, ‘growth’, ‘recession’, ‘crisis’ and ‘acceleration’ take on from this perspective? What kinds of speculative futures are being produced and for whom (Keeling 2019)?

‘Materialising’ time also works back on concepts, approaches and methods for studying time by calling into question the dualistic treatment of ‘social time’ and ‘natural time’ which has structured a significant proportion of work on time (Adam 1994). We are asked to  rethink key temporal concepts by attending more closely to their material basis and the ways these materials remain, morph, wear away and disappear with changing environments and socialities, “not in a relation of linear unfolding, but threaded through one another in a nonlinear enfolding of spacetimemattering” (Barad 2010). Another set of questions thus revolves around how to study time in its complexity, the difficulties that disciplinarity presents, and what to make of the continual rediscovery that time is not unitary and objective, but multiple and situated.

Working in collaboration with the Lifetimes and the Waiting Times projects and the Sydney Environment Institute, this Temporal Belongings conference aims to bring together scholars, researchers and practitioners interested in the socialities and materialities of time in order to explore how each is shaped by the other. Our network continues its interest in playing with the traditional time of academic collaboration and so we will include a mixture of presentation styles, and plenty of time for discussion. Collaborative, participant driven sessions will allow themes emerging from the presentations to be synthesised and explored in greater depth. Our conference will take place online via the QiQoChat platform. Using Zoom as its video meeting provider, QiQo enables attendees to move between a number of online meetings easily and to set up their own discussions or meetings as needed. Our focus will be on facilitating live synchronous sessions and opportunities for planned and spontaneous interaction with other attendees. You can click through the links above to find out more about how the conference will be organised and the platform.

Proposals are sought for lightning talks (5 mins), traditional papers (15 mins), collective sessions such as roundtables and world cafe approaches (1.5 hours), or alternative presentation/participatory formats (1.5 hours). Proposals for single panels or streams of multiple panels focusing on a relevant theme or approach are also welcome.

Confirmed keynote speakers for the conference include:

  • Karim-Aly S. Kassam (Cornell)
  • Karan Barad (UC Santa Cruz)
  • On Barak (author of “On Time”)
  • Rahul Rao (SOAS)

Contributions might address topics such as:

Time technologies, temporal media, natural and human history, time scales and life scales; times in/of the body as it is categorised in all its forms; materialities of colonial time; unequal global interdependencies in the making of time; crisis of historical time, climate change times, species times, aging, speed and acceleration, slowness and waiting, temporal rhythms, materialities of time and health; materials, time and care; clashes between material practices of time; speculative futures of time;  science fiction imaginaries; the role of non-material materials.

Please note that these suggestions are only prompts. We also welcome contributions which think outside, around and counter to the framing we’ve presented here.

Abstracts should be submitted online by the 23rd of October 2020. We will aim to give notification of decisions by December 2020. More details are available on the conference website:

Please send any queries to

Conference Committee:

  • Michelle Bastian
  • Lisa Baraitser
  • Thom van Dooren
  • Helge Jordheim
  • Hugo Reinert
  • Laura Salisbury

No Comments

Post A Comment