Time and the changing climate 
Richard Irvine (The Open University)
Senate House - Court Room
Start time:
28 May, 2016 at 16:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This panel explores the relationship between time and environment, and examines the role of temporality in thinking about and responding to climate change. How might we engage with "ecological time" in ways that are sensitive to variation and transformation?

Long Abstract

This panel seeks to revisit Evans-Pritchard's classic notion of "ecological time" and asks: how should anthropology seek to understand the relationship between time and environment in a context where those environments are changing? How might we engage with "ecological time" in ways that are sensitive to variation and transformation?

We welcome proposals exploring the role of time in relation to climate and environment, and are particularly interested in case studies illustrating the temporality of change in specific ethnographic contexts.

For example, one way of thinking about such temporality is through the rhetoric of urgency, as a point of crisis comes ever closer. This can be seen particularly in the use of apocalyptic language; yet we also see the rise of a "slow sociality", the emergence of practices of consumption and exchange that see slowness as a way of re-engaging with the depth of ecological time.

In the context of debates surrounding the Anthropocene - a geological epoch of our own making - there is an increased dialogue between anthropology and the deep time of the earth sciences. This requires us to place human activity against the backdrop of our planetary history; at the same time, a recognition of the intensity of human impact, and the need for rapid action, requires us to focus on close deadlines. Does the Anthropocene, then, broaden or narrow our time horizons? And does the focus on human behaviour inherent in the prefix 'Anthro-' close off a recognition of the temporality of other species?

Accepted papers: