PhD seminar Paris: Time, Historicity, and Crisis

In the week 9-11 May 2022 we will organize an Interdisciplinary PhD seminar at Centre Universitaire de Norvège à Paris, CUNP.

This is a three-day PhD course in cooperation with IFIKK, IAKH, ILOS and IKOS

In recent years, scholars across various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences have started questioning the role time plays in their research, most importantly the implicit assumption that time is a uniform and universal framework, into which we can place our objects of study, or a standard, according to which the duration of these objects can be measured. In response, time, or rather times in plural, have emerged with a new richness, both as epistemological tool, and as ontological condition. Prompted by scholars like Gilles Deleuze, Reinhart Koselleck, François Hartog, and Hartmut Rosa, historians of various denominations, literary and art critics, as well as researchers in cultural and regional studies, have started to explore temporal experiences and topoi, technologies and infrastructures, practices and genres, identities and networks, emotions and affects etc., uncovering temporalities that are multiple, conflictual, entangled, and contested, moving in and out of sync with each other.  This “temporal turn” has been accelerated by the stacking-up of crisis-events, such as climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration crises, terrorism, and populist politics, which make their way into increasingly more areas of life, culture, and knowledge.

This course targets both those PhD fellows, who in one way or another work with times and temporalities as an explicit object, topic, or key theoretical concept in their dissertation, and those, who have come across these questions in their theoretical, methodological, and empirical endeavors, and want to know more. It is organized by the Departments for Archaeology, Conservation, and History (IAKH), Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas (IFIKK), Literature, Area Studies, and European Languages (ILOS), and Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo, but welcomes applicants from all disciplines and institutions.

It is a three-day course, offering a mix of keynote lectures, literature discussion, and paper presentations. Participants will be asked to hand in a 10-page /max. 6000 word paper approximately two weeks before the start of the course, which will then be circulated. All participants will also be asked to comment on the papers of others. There will be a course curriculum that participants should have acquainted themselves with before they arrive at the course. Working language will be English.

Confirmed key notes at the course are Jacob Lund (Århus), Judith Sarfati Lanter (Paris), François Hartog (Paris).

Jacob Lund will talk about 'The Changing Constitution of the Present'. With reference to what might be called an “anachronic” exhibition curated by art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman, I would like to discuss the notion of contemporaneity – understood as the coming together of different times in the same historical present – and how this relates to the end of a certain history of art, as theorized by art historians and theorists such as Yves Michaud, Arthur C. Danto, Hans Belting, Nicolas Bourriaud, and Didi-Huberman himself. At the same time, I also criticize the ahistorical notion of the contemporary as an “untimely” person or subject who is capable of entering into a disjunctive or anachronistic relationship with their own time, proposed by philosopher Giorgio Agamben. The overall aim is to make an argument for what I call “the contemporary contemporary” as the point of departure for any anachronic relationship with time today; and as the inescapable point of departure for any possible historical imagination.

François Hartog will talk about how to diagnose the present? The present is our place and our environment. We are embarked in it, as it has always been so for all human communities. But in order to grasp its texture, we must first distance ourselves from it, knowing that it is not the same for everyone or everywhere, and that it is very difficult to assign clear boundaries to it. Historians can make their contribution, by offering back and forth movements between the present and different presents of the past through comparison.

Judith Sarfati Lanter will give a talk about 'Crisis of experience and crisis of narrativity' based on the work of Claude Simon. What can literature do when, in a time that could be said to be "saturated with the present" (Jeztzeit), to echo Benjamin's theses on the concept of history, the chronicle of history is missing, when the synthesis of history is no longer possible?  Literature produces a specific knowledge, which is not exactly the knowledge of historians: it is a rewriting of history linked to the concern for a new articulation of times, which can account, not for the past, but for the opacity of the past.

The course will take place at the Centre Franco-Norvégien at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, 9-11 May 2022. Hotels (four nights) and some dinners are covered, but participants pay for their own transportation. If possible, we encourage participants to choose climate friendly options.

Applications to join the course should contain a 2-page sketch of the dissertation project and a CV and should be mailed to:  by 1 March 2022. Notice of acceptance will be given shortly after.

Deadline for complete papers (6-10 pages)  25 April 2022. 

Please send your paper to: 

Participation: 5 ECTS

Program (final)

Readings: (more to come)

Paul Ricoeur, Memory - Forgetting - History (2008)

François Hartog, Introduction: Orders of Time and Regimes of Historicity (2015)

François Hartog, Memory, History, and The Present (2015)

François Hartog, Chronos, Kairos, Krisis: The Genesis of Western Time (2021)

Walter Benjamin, 0n the Concept of History

William Kentridge & Peter L. Galison, The Refusal of Time

Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony

Helga Nowotny, Time. The Modern and Postmodern Experience

Helge Jordheim and Einar Wigen, Conceptual Synchronisation: From Progress to Crisis (2018)


Conveners: Bente Larsen (IFIKK), Geir Uvsløkk (ILOS), and Helge Jordheim (IKOS)

Published Sep. 17, 2021 2:10 PM - Last modified May 3, 2022 1:57 PM