Call for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

20110225_171844_RowellseedvaultCall for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting
 Posted on 11th February 2016 by David Farrier

Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting
9-5pm, Wednesday, 20th April 2016
Project Room, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

The third and final workshop in the Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time series, organised by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network. The workshop will be accompanied by a public keynote lecture from Prof Steven Hartman, title tbc, at 6pm on Tuesday 19th April.


Ghosts are, perhaps first and foremost, expressions of desire: to connect, communicate, or commingle across boundaries. One of the most challenging aspects of the Anthropocene—both conceptually and ethically—is the way it puts the present in contact with distant times (past and future) beyond the scope of human experience, or even imagining. The time we live in is, in this respect, very much out of joint.

This workshop, the final in our series of discussions of ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’, will take the figure of the ghost as an index of this disjunctive time, as a way of thinking about the connections between deep pasts and deep futures that reside within the everyday. Much recent work in the Environmental Humanities has considered the implications of the uncanny time of the Anthropocene, from the multispecies and geologic genealogies of (respectively) Deborah Bird Rose and Kathryn Yusoff, to the urging of the distant ancestor (Nigel Clark) and the ghost of the unborn (Timothy Clark) that disturbs the unilateral excesses of contemporary (capitalist) ‘presentism’. The conceptual frameworks in play have been equally diverse, from Derridean hauntology to indigenous worldviews, and the example of Holocaust studies. This strand of the ‘Unexpected Encounters’ series will consider this equation of haunted time with ethical time, and how the spectral can complicate our ways of thinking and describing the enduring presence of deep time.
As the final workshop in our series of discussions of ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’, Haunting will allow us to both develop new lines of thought, and to revisit the scenes of Enchantment and Violence explored in our previous workshops. Haunting is suggestive of both the impress of the fantastic upon the real (‘conjuring’ ghosts), and of the potential for acts of violence or rupture to echo into the present (and beyond); therefore this final strand will allow for a useful examination of how all three strands in our series interact.

We hope to also explore questions such as:
• How might the ghostly help us to think about the connections that exist between apparently very distant times and states of being?
• The ghost is also the one who endures. What kind of change in perspective can we achieve by knowing ourselves as the ghosts who will endure in the dark ecological futures inaugurated by our collective actions?
• In what ways can non-Western traditions of the spectral or supernatural help our understanding of the haunting presence of deep time within the everyday?
• What forms of ‘uncanny ethics’ (multispecies; intergenerational) emerge in these haunted temporalities?
• In what ways can we productively reappraise the value of melancholia, espoused by Timothy Morton’s ‘dark ecology,’ in shaping a viable response to the Anthropocene?
Papers addressing these and related questions are very welcome. Please submit your proposal by email to, by the 11th of March. Responses will be provided by the 18th of March. Proposals for alternative presentations/formats are welcomed..

via Call for Papers: Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting | Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.


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