This talk will delve deep into the often nuanced ways our assumptions about time in the Humanities impact the epistemological formations of our discipline. Beginning with the girding structure of the linear progress narrative and finishing with what Wright dubs ‘Epiphenomenal spacetime’, her argument will intersect with contemporary and canonical formations of Blackness within and without academe while intersecting with discourses on the temporal shift from Newtonian to theoretical particle physics. Time, as Wright will show, has everything to do with the representation of racial collectives in the Western tradition.
Michelle M. Wright is the Augustus Baldwin Longstreet Professor of English at Emory University. She is the author of Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora (2004) and Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (2015). Writing through gender studies, queer studies, science studies, time studies, Black European Studies, African American Studies, and African Diaspora Studies, her work focuses on Black identity formation in both creative and academic discourses.
The lecture is part of the current ICI Lecture Series ERRANS, in Time. Ideas of physical, social, revolutionary time, internal time consciousness, or historical experience are far from settled in their respective discourses and practices. Yet attempts to harmonize or correlate the understanding of time and temporal phenomena generated in different disciplines all-too quickly resort to normative, if not teleological ideas of progress, efficiency, or experiential plenitude. Can the heterogenous relations between discordant conceptions of time and temporality be understood as being ‘erratically’ structured, that is, as marked by inherent misapprehensions, a dissonance that defies regulation, and an unexpected variability?
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