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Speak11


Temporalizing utopia: interrogating nationalisms in the past and future 
Convenor:
Aimee Joyce (St Andrews University)
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Stream:
Who Speaks and for Whom?
Sessions:
Wednesday 31 March, 16:30-18:00 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel seeks to break with traditional conceptions of nation-building by exploring the ways in which we conceive of nations and nationalism through the lens of multiple temporalities, looking at how imaginations of past, present and future all intertwine in the process of nation-building.

Long Abstract

This panel seeks to explore how national imaginaries are constructed through an assemblage of multiple temporalities, such that past and future projections of "national utopias" contextualise and lend meaning to lives in the present. Drawing from the recent explosion of work on the anthropology of the future as well as classic work on nations and nationalism, this panel will challenge the notion of the future as intangible and indeterminate. Instead, it will argue for an approach to nationalism that focuses on concrete futural orientations (in terms of mobility, space, ecology, and ideology) which help inform behaviour in the present. Moving away from traditional linear historical constructivist approaches to nation-building, this panel seeks to emphasise the way current tumultuous politics are perceived as an assemblage of multiple temporalities involved in imagining the nation as an entity simultaneously anchored in the past and projected into the future. Who imagines the nation? And for whom is that nation imagined? In a time of increasing political instability, marked by the rise of nationalism and right-wing extremism, it is increasingly crucial to understand how imagined and reconstructed pasts, poignant and charged presents, hopeful and threatening futures all intertwine and work together to shape a clear vision of the multitemporal nation. Crucially, then, this panel seeks to explore how a closer study of the multiple temporalities involved in the imagining of a nation can help us understand the way in which people orient themselves to nationalism in the present.

Accepted papers: