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Hope from the Abyss? Deep Time, Contemporary Crises, and the Reimagining of the Commons I 
Stuart McLean (University of Minnesota)
Richard Irvine (University of St Andrews)
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26 University Square (UQ), 01/005
Thursday 28 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

How might the perspective of geological deep time be mobilized to challenge the more restrictive spatiotemporal visions of contemporary neoliberalism and ethnonationalism, and to imagine in their place a new kind of commons? We welcome both paper presentations and creative/audiovisual projects.

Long Abstract:

Since the nineteenth century, the biological and earth sciences have shown how humans are embedded within the larger-than-human timescales of terrestrial evolution and geology. The perspective of "deep time" reveals humans themselves, their territorial boundaries, and the seemingly fixed forms of physical geography to be ephemeral presences, here today but (perhaps) gone tomorrow. More recently, proclamations of an anthropogenic climate crisis have, arguably, heightened awareness of the ways in which long-term processes of environmental change can impact human lives. Nonetheless, the present seems characterized equally by the ascendancy of more restrictive and parsimonious spatiotemporal visions: enclosure, privatizations, minutely quantified work-time, the strengthening of borders, and the narrowly exclusionary conceptions of identity and history often promulgated in contemporary "culture wars." This panel asks whether the invocation of more than human temporalities might have the potential to expose as transitory and contingent (and thus susceptible to transformation) conceptions such as ownership, private property, national identity, sovereignty, and territoriality that are currently mobilized to delimit and restrict access to both time and space. By refusing the enclosure of time, might deep time enable us to imagine new kinds of commons? Topics might include (but are not limited to): how expanded time horizons might transform the language of social and ecological description; the kinds of alliances, solidarities and collective mobilizations that deep time awareness might enable; and the work of artists and writers who have appealed to deep-time imaginaries. We welcome contributions in the form of academic papers, creative writing, performances, and audiovisual presentations.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -