Background – Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time Series

International Interdisciplinary Research Group:

Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time

In 2015-16 EEHN was awarded funding from the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (IASH) to develop an International Interdisciplinary Research Group around the topic of Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time.

Our interest was in bringing deep time to bear on the everyday. Whether it is a fossil in the polished floor of a hotel lobby or an encounter with a turtle washed up on a Scottish beach with a gut full of plastic, chance meetings such as these suggest the uncanny ability of deep time to telescope into and out of the everyday. Rather than appearing as an abstract concept, an unending line forward or backwards, deep time is met in material encounters that disorient and reframe. For instance, fossil fuel simultaneously casts us back in to the deep past of their formation, and the deep future shaped by their consumption. Deep time enfolds and enlivens our existence, and thinking about the intersection of deep time with the everyday offers a different view onto the processes of disruption that mark the extended ‘geological moment’ that has been named the Anthropocene.

Our three themes were Enchantment; Violence; and Haunting. Each theme was explored via public lecture, workshop, and postgraduate masterclass. You can find more information about each theme by clicking on the link. Recordings of the public lectures and workshop presentations are available under the Resources and Activities tab above.