Call for Papers
Canadian Anthropology Society Annual Meeting 16-20 May, 2018
Universidad de Oriente – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Panel Organizers: Ari Gandsman (University of Ottawa), Allan Dawson (Drew University)
Anthropology, Indigenous Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, African Studies / History, Social Sciences, Women's & Gender History / Studies.
Beginnings and endings: Temporal experience and the ethics of time
Time is perhaps the most inescapable —yet difficult to capture and define—dimension of social existence and cultural reproduction. It is present and clearly embedded in our ethnographies, histories and narratives but it also so often eludes us as both participants within research sites and as ethnographers. The phenomenological roots of anthropology challenges us to engage in our informant's temporal universes—yet this aspect of their lives is often overlooked. Anthropology has sought to distinguish time that is framed within our own productions—ethnography and history—as composed of discrete segments: years, centuries, epochs or periods of history marked by political or social upheavals such as colonialism versus time as it exists for our subjects conception of mythical or primordial periods or kin-rooted time that is dynamic and in flux but always remaking itself. At the same 'time', temporal experience is deeply embedded in ethical queries. This panel aims to examine how our informants construct their own lives within meaningful temporal segments and the complex ambiguities and ambivalences with which they understand the temporal dimension of their lives. In particular, we seek to examine how individuals conceive of future possibilities and anticipatory events that both offer a means of coherence but also a way of destabilizing temporal understandings in which beginnings and endings intersect and merge. This panel seeks papers that look to reconcile these temporal contradictions. These papers will address how the temporal ideas of informants intersect, compliment and, at times, conflict with each other. They should seek to explore how an anthropological awareness of the temporal dimensions of our research subject's lifeways and cultural universes can provide insight into the different ways in which time is framed by our informants, external to the discrete, more bounded configurations of time found within our productions.