ACLA 2013: Taking Time, Third Time: Decolonization and the Un-syncing of Global Standard Time (Due:11/15)

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American Comparative Literature Association 2013
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Surviving (in) the world of '24/7'? Questioning the implicit, paradigmatic privileging of the geospatial in Postcolonial Studies, this seminar focuses instead on time (un)coordinated as such, as that which foregrounds and permeates practices of decolonization across the globe. We believe that time, itself a condition of possibility for decolonization (e.g., it takes time), is to be more actively factored into the ongoing, polylocational theorization of the syncopated legacies of colonialism, ranging from epochal questions around the postwar Cold War to everyday issues of how (not) to sync 'now' with the rhythms of global capital.

"The Third World" project, formally inaugurated at the 1955 meeting in Bandung, Indonesia, could be taken as a starting point for our open-ended inquiry. The rhetorical shift in that contemporaneous "third" worlding of the world redrawn as such–once historically revolutionary, now euphemistically in/exclusionary–not only suggests the continued deferral (or différance) of decolonization, but the continued dispossession, the taking away, of time from the colonized. In the midst of this game of machinic catch-up, in this seemingly mad rush towards a globalized modernity, let us take some time to dwell on this "thirdness" more precisely and slowly. Rather than rejecting or embracing the "third world" as a backwater to be saved or a narrative condition for leaping forward, we can and should read it against the grain: the challenge would be not to reinscribe the banal and often pernicious idiomatics of binary-structured critique as well as the tyranny of the linear, but to resist just that by disclosing, with sharper awareness, the very belatedness in reckoning with the history of colonial violence and injustice.

More broadly then, what forms or topologies of time–its experiences, embodiments, representations, dynamisms, etc–characterize postcoloniality? What temporalities, histories, sensibilities, alternative axiomatics are marginalized or rendered (il)legible in the synchronization of globalization including the very presumption, globalizability? What are the material traces and whispery dictates of temporality that underlie and haunt decolonization, those that often 'work in the background' as part of broader networks that purportedly keep the Globe global, keep it going–but where? What conceptual cartographies of future anteriority are required to engage with postcoloniality's entanglements of time in such specific contexts? This seminar invites papers grounded in, but not limited to, the polycentric legacies and resonances of Bandung.

Keywords: Time, Temporality, Postcolonial Theory, Decolonization, Neocolonialism, Globalization, Third World, Bandung

Deadline: Nov 15, 2012. To submit a paper for this seminar, go here:

Note: Presenters must be members of the ACLA and register for the conference.