Over the past decade, time has emerged anew as a major concept across the humanities and social sciences, and historians have raised anew the question of its relation to history. New perspectives on conceptions and practices of time have acquired a powerful yet very uneven, often confusing place in academic discussion.
The purpose of this course is to carefully reconsider the theorization of temporality in twentieth-century philosophy and human sciences, with an eye to doing contemporary historical work. Key issues will concern the co-institution of time and power; the constant conflict of temporal regimes—for which we will aim to move beyond the Koselleck paradigm—; modernization, revolution, and colonization & decolonization in the way they involve temporality; periodization; internationalization(s); and the instability of the classic past/present/future constructions the construction of the past, including through historicist and citational practices; technological and industrial effects; as well as the postulation and planning out of various futures (incl. redemptive political theologies).
We will read, besides key works in philosophy and the human sciences, a series of classic and recent works in the historiography of time, anthropologies of revolution and of conflicting temporalities, and theoretical texts concerning temporal distancing; These include philosophical (Blumenberg, Derrida), historical (starting with Koselleck and Kantorowicz), anthropological (Lévi-Strauss, Leroi-Gourhan, Fabian, Stewart, Yurchak), imperial, anticolonial and internationalist organizations of time, revolutionary traditions (1789, 1917, 1933 et al), modern scientific (psychoanalysis-Freud/Lacan, evolutionary theory and paleontology-Gould, relativity, ), and works cutting across legal and economic history.
Syllabus forthcoming. There will be substantial often difficult reading, and close reading & active participation are expected. One presentation, weekly responses, one final paper. Admission requires instructor's consent.