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Beyond The Clock - An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Time

​About the Symposium

The “Beyond the Clock” Symposium brings together scholars from the humanities and social sciences for two days of presentations and discussions on what might be called the third generation of temporality studies.

Before the 1990s, most scholars of temporality followed Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel in focusing on abstract, rationalized time as a unifying central force of modern social life and its cultural productions. In the 1960s, E.P. Thompson famously placed this force on historical footing by contrasting pre-modern task-oriented society with post-industrial timed-labor society. A generation later, Benedict Anderson envisioned an “empty, homogenous time” as the foundation of the modern nation state. These thinkers established the importance of rationalized time to modern labor practices, to the postcolonial social imagination, and to art and literature, among other scholarly concerns.

In the new millennium, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, and literary scholars have pioneered more pluralistic approaches to time, challenging the assumption that a single model of time prevails in any given society or nation. In the last decade, scholars in particular have shifted their attention from rationalized and synchronous clock time to the mobile, compressed, and/or dilated time of the knowledge economy or the anthropocene. This new approach is evident across a staggering range of disciplines: critical theorists Harmut Rosa and Sarah Sharma’s consideration of the problem of “social acceleration,” sociologist Benjamin Snyder’s exploration of “flexible time” in the post-Taylorist workplace, engineer and historian of science Jimena Canales’ deconstruction of physics’ reliance on metaphorical clocks, and historian Stephen Kern’s re-examination of the “culture of time and space” in the electronic age. This symposium aims to bring these parallel social, cultural, and philosophical engagements into a collective conversation on time in its irrational, disparate, and fascinating forms.

This symposium is supported by the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS).


​Friday, March 15​ ​
​​9:00 Registration and Welcome​
​10:00 ​Keynote Speaker: Stephen Kern (The Ohio State University)
​11:00 ​Panel 1: Marking Time Lines
Panel 2: Economies of Time
​12:30 ​Lunch
​2:00 ​Panel 3: Time and Ethnography
Panel 4: Time and the National Imagination
​3:30 ​Tea Break
​4:00 ​Panel 5: Temporalities of Pain and Healing
Panel 6: Structures of Literary Time
Saturday, March 16 ​
​10:00 ​Keynote Speaker: Alexis McCrossen (Southern Methodist University)
​11:00 ​Panel 7: Sanctified Time
​12:30 ​Lunch
​1:30 ​The Times of Art in Singapore: Alfian Sa'at and Yanyun Chen
in conversation with Shaoling Ma
​2:30 Panel 8: Chronopolitics
Panel 9: Malleable Time and the Literary Work​
​4:00 ​Tea Break
​4:30 ​Keynote Speaker: Jimena Canales (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
​6:00 ​Conference Dinner​

For detailed schedule and abstracts, please click here​.


​For more information about the symposium, contact 

  • Asst Prof Kevin Riordan -
  • Asst Prof Justin Clark -