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Troubling Time(s): Questioning Prevailing Notions of Time in the Study of Literature and Culture

Castle of Rauischholzhausen

June 26-28, 2022

Hamlet’s lament that “the time is out of joint” is likely the most famous instance within the Western literary canon in which a moment of crisis, both personal and political, is linked to a sense of disrupted time. The pairing of troubling times with troubled time – i.e. ruptured, disjointed temporalities and historical breaks – certainly persists within contemporary experience and cultural expression. Even before the most recent overwhelming experiences of crisis have added urgency to this topic, the various challenges posed to our societies in the 21st century have led to the impression that “people seem to be losing their faith in their ability to shape the future” (Grossberg 2010: 62). However, far from solely leading to resignation and negativity, various productive (re)evaluations of time have appeared in critical thought from, for example, non-western, feminist, queer and affect-theoretical perspectives that question either conventional, hegemonic notions of time or reconceptualize the temporality and experience of crisis.


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