ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

24 – Timely Histories: A Social History of Time in South Asia

The study of time and temporality has recently emerged as a new area of historical research. Yet, research on time and temporality in South Asian Studies has been primarily concerned with these categories as lenses through which to critique historical periodization and/or to theorize modes of historical writing.

Convenors

Nitin Sinha - Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, ZMO, Berlin, Germany
Sagnik Kar - Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, ZMO, Berlin, Germany

Long Abstract

The study of time and temporality has recently emerged as a new area of historical research. Yet, research on time and temporality in South Asian Studies has been primarily concerned with these categories as lenses through which to critique historical periodization and/or to theorize modes of historical writing. While such perspectives remain important, they nevertheless obscure people’s everyday engagement with time, time-keeping systems, and ways of experiencing time. As a result, the social and political usages and contestations over time have remained largely unexplored in the field.
By focusing on how time is encountered, negotiated, and employed in daily life, the panel seeks to emphasize a people- and practice-centric approach to the study of time, emphasizing time’s concrete expressions rather than its abstract forms.

We welcome papers that historicize social engagement with time in any period and region of South Asia. For example, papers may explore how temporal histories are embedded within social and economic practices (contract, money, debt, future planning, and work); how they are linked to the history of emotions, gender, industrialization, and legal histories; how they are part of the making of agrarian states and frontiers, imperial trade and networks of transport and circulation, and state and bureaucratic practices; and how they are connected to life events (birth, marriage, and death). Emphasizing a trans-disciplinary perspective, the panel seeks to recover a holistic view of time’s history that charts the contours of a new frame through which to investigate South Asia’s pasts.