Desirable Futures II: Time As Possibility, Practice, Politics

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Black Geographies Specialty Group, Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 30
Organizers: Pallavi Gupta, Mabel Gergan, Lara Lookabaugh, Caitilin McMillan, Carlos Serrano, Pavithra Vasudevan
Chairs: Sara Smith


Session organizers: Mabel Gergan, Pallavi Gupta, Lara Lookabaugh, Caitilin McMillan, Carlos Serrano, Sara Smith, Pavithra Vasudevan

This session invites reflection on ways of being, living and worldmaking that undiscipline modernist and colonialist constructions of time. Temporality is fundamental to spatial relations and the study of space. Violences foundational to modernity - settler colonialism, enslavement, forced labor regimes, and resource colonization - are reiterated in contemporary policies, institutional arrangements and methodological missteps. The very discipline of geography is deeply implicated in reproducing eurocentric and masculinist structures, which code time as linear, white and heteropatriarchal. Critical geographies increasingly move us from these constricted and linear temporalities towards a layered sense of time as radical possibility. Feminist, Indigenous, Black, and queer of color scholarship narrates embodied life in ways that remake relations to time and space, such as residence time (Sharpe 2016), the future as horizon (Muñoz 2009; Simpson LB, Walcott R and Coulthard G 2018), plantation futures alongside marronage or revolution (McKittrick 2013); crip time (Kafer 2013; Samuels 2017), being out of time (Rao 2020), fugitive and wayward experiments of time and place (Hartman 2019, Belcourt 2016), and haunting or desiring futures (Tuck and Ree 2013, Tuck 2009).

We ask, then: who is the future for (Davis and Todd 2018, Hunt 2017, Smith and Vasudevan 2017, Whyte 2016)? How do we queer and unsettle colonial, capitalist, heteropatriarchal time? How is time layered, folded, navigated, and curated by those seeking to enact and embody possibilities for the future in the here and now? How might we understand anti-Blackness as a temporal project (McKittrick 2013, Sharpe 2016)? How does the past haunt our futures (Tuck and Ree 2013)? What does desire do (Tuck 2009, Collins 2018)? Who can be time travelers (Naidoo, 2016)? How do we think about embodied time, and intergenerational flow across time and space? How do temporal imaginaries renegotiate the divisions of nature and culture of the human and its others, of sentience and animacy (Gergan 2017; Jackson 2020; McKittrick 2014; Wynter 2003)? If our pasts, presents and futures are intimately entangled across geographies, generations, and territories, what do we owe each other?
We invite you to engage with us in an interdisciplinary conversation, drawing on Indigenous, critical race, feminist, queer, trans and disability studies to think through alternative temporalities across space, time, territory, and geographies. We will explore these questions and themes in our virtual series of “Desirable Futures” panels and paper sessions:

Activism as generational labor
Activists as time travelers
Archives, lives and the empire
Black liberation beyond the empire
Black radical thought and politics of time
Crip futurity and temporal possibility
Colonial figurations, imperial ruinations and time
Curation of space and time
Embodiment of collectivity through time
Haunting, future and desire
Indigenous futurity/beyond settler time
Political practice/prefigurative politics of time
Storytelling to make sense of the past
The temporality of humanness

Belcourt B-R (2016) A poltergeist manifesto. Feral Feminisms 6: 22–32.
Collins FL (2018) Desire as a theory for migration studies: temporality, assemblage and becoming in the narratives of migrants. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44(6). Taylor & Francis: 964–980.
Davis H and Todd Z (2017) On the Importance of a Date, or, Decolonizing the Anthropocene. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16(4): 761–780.
Escobar A (2018) Designs for the pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Duke University Press.
Gergan MD (2017) Living with earthquakes and angry deities at the Himalayan borderlands. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107(2): 490–498.
Hartman S (2019) Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals. WW Norton & Company.
Hunt D (2018) “In search of our better selves”: Totem Transfer Narratives and Indigenous Futurities. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42(1): 71–90.
Jackson ZI (2020) Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World. NYU Press.
Kafer A (2013) Feminist, queer, crip. Indiana University Press.
McKittrick, Katherine. 2013. "Plantation futures." Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 17.3 (42) (2013): 1-15.
McKittrick K (2014) Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. Duke University Press.
Muñoz JE (2009) Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York City: New York University Press.
Naidoo L (2016) The anti-apartheid generation has become afraid of the future. Mail & Guardian.
Rao R (2020) Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Samuels E (2017) "Six ways of looking at crip time." Disability Studies Quarterly 37.3.
Simpson LB, Walcott R and Coulthard G (2018) Idle No More and Black Lives Matter: An Exchange (Panel Discussion). Global Movement Assemblages 12(1).
Sharpe C (2016) In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Smith S and Vasudevan P (2017) Race, biopolitics, and the future: Introduction to the special section. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 35(2): 210–221. DOI: 10.1177/0263775817699494.
Tuck E (2009) Suspending damage: A letter to communities. Harvard Educational Review 79(3). Harvard Education Publishing Group: 409–428.
Tuck E and Ree C (2013) A glossary of haunting. In: Handbook of Autoethnography. New York: Routledge, pp. 639–658.
Whyte KP (2016) Our Ancestors’ Dystopia Now: Indigenous Conservation and the Anthropocene. In: Heise U, Christensen J, and Niemann M (eds) Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. New York: Routledge.
Wynter S (2003) Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation--An Argument. The New Centennial Review 3(3): 257–337.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Dolly Kikon*, Apt 321, Fermenting Cultures: Time, Temperature, Taste 13 9:35 AM
Presenter Rahul Rao*, SOAS University of London, What time does Gandhi tell? 13 9:48 AM
Presenter Dewitt King*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, Black Time-Space: The Chronopolitics of Black Hair Care 13 10:01 AM
Presenter Jack Gieseking*, University of Kentucky, Making Queer Time: Reading Queer Theories of Time to Rethink Queering Space and Time 13 10:14 AM
Introduction Sara Smith University of North Carolina 10 10:27 AM
Presenter Mabel Gergan*, Vanderbuilt University , Youthful Visions of Tribal Futurity in the Indian Himalayas 13 10:37 AM

To access contact information login