International Society for the Study of Time  

The International Society for the Study of Time
Sixteenth Triennial Conference

Time’s Urgency

26 June to 2 July 2016,

University of Edinburgh, Scotland UK

Call for Papers

Proposals (300 words) due by July 10th, 2015

The International Society for the Study of Time (ISST) seeks proposals for presentations at its 2016 conference at the University of Edinburgh, on the theme of Time’s Urgency. 

The ISST, renowned for its interdisciplinary scope, welcomes contributions from all scholarly, creative, or professional perspectives.  Our format of plenary presentations delivered over several days creates a sustained, interdisciplinary discussion among participants. 

The Edinburgh conference will mark the 50th anniversary of the ISST and of the publication of the seminal volume The Voices of Time, in which ISST Founder J. T. Fraser assembled perspectives on time by experts across the disciplines. Time has arguably become an even more pressing subject over the ensuing five decades across and within many fields.  This event thus presents an especially apt occasion to present disciplinary perspectives on time and debate potential relations among them.
Time’s urgency is felt and understood on several scales and from many perspectives. On the individual and social levels, the increased speed of communication has created a “global now” and expanded the horizon of the electronic present.  It has also increased the pace of work and economic exchange, the management of global conflicts, and the volatility of markets and political systems. All this has encouraged a shrinking of temporal horizons with respect to the past and the future, and a pervasive feeling of temporal stress among societies and individuals. Human history, by contrast, is increasingly understood and imagined in relation to vast terrestrial and cosmic timescales.  Geologists, ecologists, historians and critical theorists debate issues around the Anthropocene, a proposed geological age defined by humanity’s becoming a force of planetary change. The Anthropocene marks a break with progressivist views of classical modernity, as a cascade of irreversible alterations in climate and biodiversity seems to call for ever more rapid human response and repair.  Climate change, political and economic upheaval, and dystopian futures are explored in film, literature, art and philosophy.  Corporations, states and scientists strive to envision and realize technotopias that would increase control (by whom, for what purpose?) over human biology, society and the environment.  All these divergent perspectives involve the issue of time’s urgency. 

The ISST seeks to engage in a robust interdisciplinary exploration of Time’s Urgency and invites participation from scholars in the humanities, social and natural sciences, as well as artists working in any media. Proposals on any subject relevant to the conference theme are welcome; possible topics include:

Possible topics:

  • The Urgency of Time in the Anthropocene and/or Big History
  • Temporal issues in big data
  • Temporal urgency understood on physical/cosmological scales
  • Psychological Time and Crises – e.g., PTSD
  • Urgency, Economic Models, and Stressors
  • Urgency and Ritual
  • Time’s Urgency, Ecology and Ethics
  • Temporal compression and social practices
  • Artistic expressions of the urgency of time
  • Philosophies of time’s urgency
  • Speculative fiction and the future / ‘Cli-fi’ (climate fiction)
  • “Just in Time” Business Models
  • Urgency and J.T. Fraser’s Hierarchical Theory of Time

Guidelines and Timeline for Proposals: Proposals will be for 20 – 30 minute presentations in diverse formats: scholarly paper, debate, performance, overview of creative work, installation, workshop.  Proposals for interdisciplinary panels are especially welcome (each paper for a panel must be approved by the selection committee). In this latter case, three speakers might present divergent points of view around a central topic, and be responded to by a moderator. All work will be presented in English, and should strike a balance between expertise in an area of specialization and accessibility to a general intellectual audience.

Proposals, approximately 300 words in length, are submitted electronically. The author’s name(s) should not appear in the proposal, as the ISST does blind reviewing in selecting papers for its conferences. The deadline for submission is June 30th, 2015, with acceptances communicated by November 1, 2015. The Society also seeks session chairs, whose names will be included on the printed conference program.

No further submissions will be accepted.

View Printable Version