The working group in Temporalities focuses on the study of the humanities from the perspective of time and transformation, with a special emphasis on exploring discourses drawn from the Environmental Humanities. In the 2015-2016 year we consider, among other topics, the greatly accelerated time frame of geographical, societal and cultural change driven by the Industrial Revolution, and the mutually transformative relationships between human societies and the biological world over time.

Imke Meyer, Germanic Studies
Heidi Schlipphacke, Germanic Studies
Colleen McQuillen, Slavic & Baltic
Karen Underhill, Slavic & Baltic
Tatjana Gajic, Hispanic & Italian Studies
Steven Marsh, Hispanic & Italian Studies


“History, Hauntology, Representation” With Steven Marsh 
Wednesday, 11/11 4:00 PM to Wednesday, 11/11 5:00 PM

In this talk, Professor Marsh seeks to explore that area where cinematic representation of history and the institutional discipline Film History meet.  His reading of two recent films, both of which have emerged from the periphery of the Spanish state (Catalonia), turn on questions of interruption, event, and out-of-joint time.

Jordan Lecture
Thursday, 9/24 4:00 PM to Thursday, 9/24 5:00 PM

FORUM ON 15: Talks on Temporalities

September 24, 2015
UH 1501
4 pm

Jennifer A. Jordan

Sociology and Urban Studies Programs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Edible Memory: How Tomatoes became Heirlooms and Apples became Antiques”

How do the stories we tell each other about the past shape the food we eat? Even as countless varieties of edible plants have vanished permanently from the face of the earth, people are working hard to preserve the biodiversity and “genetic heritage” not only of rare panda bears or singular orchids, but also the plants of the backyard vegetable garden. A major consequence of this work is the emergence of heirloom food—varieties of fruit, vegetables, grains and livestock left behind by modern agriculture, but now experiencing a striking resurgence. Through a close examination of apples and tomatoes, this talk reveals the phenomenon of edible memory—the infusing of food, heirloom and otherwise, with connections to the past, in ways both deeply personal and inherently social. Paying attention to edible memory reveals deep connections between food and memory, social and physical landscapes, pleasures and possibilities.

Jennifer Jordan is professor of sociology and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she has worked for the past fifteen years. She is the author of Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and other Forgotten Foods (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Structures of Memory: Understanding Urban Change in Berlin and Beyond (Stanford University Press, 2006) as well as numerous scholarly articles on topics ranging from kitchen gardens and collective memory, apples and German national identity, and dumplings. Her latest research delves deeper into two kinds of edible landscapes—historical kitchen gardens, and the wild landscapes where people forage for food. Her research always addresses the ways that the stories we tell about the past shape the world around us—whether in orchards and vegetable gardens (in her latest book), or in the urban landscape of Berlin (in her earlier research). She has been a Fulbright scholar, a senior scientist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and a fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

This lecture is generously supported by the Institute for the Humanities Working Group on Temporalities.

Temporality of the Anthropocene: Time Scales and the Environmental Humanities
Thursday, 10/22 4:00 PM to Thursday, 10/22 6:00 PM

Temporalities Working Group Presents:
Heather Sullivan,
Trinity University

As scholars across many fields debate labeling our current geological era the “Anthropocene,” or the humanly inflected age of globalized industrial particulate matter spreading across the entire planet’s surface since the Industrial Revolution, the environmental humanities analyze possible models for imagining and representing such large-scale issues. How can we assess, visualize, and represent the impossibly vast scale of global pollution, global climate change, and the greatly accelerated time frame of change driven by ever-increasing fossil fuel use? In my current project, I propose a frame I call the “dark pastoral.” The dark pastoral is not limited to a specific time or place or type of landscape, but it emerges most clearly with the Anthropocene, for its darkness is especially poignant with the immersion into the fossil-fueled acceleration of modern “turbo capitalism,” to use Rob Nixon’s term from SLOW VIOLENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENTALISM OF THE POOR. Indeed, the dark pastoral embodies a potential literary frame for Nixon’s “slow violence”: it writes the green fields and shepherd’s love songs as we spin across the planet in steam ships, trains, automobiles, and finally planes and space shuttles. The more we speed, the slower the pastoral narratives document their shepherds and trees. The pastoral is immensely artificial and yet provocatively confrontational to our current economic system, and its long-term textual life (since the ancient Greek poetry of Theocritus) offers a literary model for imagining the interfaces and interactions of human and other species together in green landscapes. The more urban and colonial the author, the more idealized the pastoral text tends to be: it writes its inverse, in a way. Of course, the dark pastoral in the Anthropocene writes the city and urban-scape into this frame, dripping with oil and fumes.