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Hardwired Temporalities is a SSHRC Connection activity committed to staging an encounter between scholars working on the significance of technology and temporality and their ramifications for social relations, stratifications of power, and ways of life. International and interdisciplinary in scope, the project aims to initiate a conversation on temporal artifacts and the lived experience of time between Canadian, US, and German researchers working in the fields of communication and media studies, cultural studies, history of science and technology, cinema studies, and social science.

The first milestone of the connection event, the Hardwired Temporalities conference, took place on March 11–12, 2016. The two-day symposium interrogated the ways timekeeping technologies, time-management practices, and temporal infrastructures influence and coordinate the movements and labor of people, matter, and signs and how these technologies—from medieval clocks to smartphones and ambient technologies—feed back into temporal orders that both shape and transform socioeconomic realities, cultural and artistic practice, and contemporary scholarship on media and temporality.

The keynote speaker was John Durham Peters, A. Craig Baird Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. The speakers represent a cross section of the most innovative directions of contemporary media research. Nearly half the researchers have devoted a significant amount of their research to critically investigating relations of temporality, while the other half have been invited because of their wide-ranging expertise in contemporary media and infrastructure studies to reengage their objects through specific questions of temporality. Creating a conversation between these diverse voices, the symposium aimed to reevaluate theories of temporality through fresh case studies and new empirical evidence (see program). The symposium was free and open to the public as well as live-streamed to the web. Videos of the presentations will be available soon.

The Hardwired Temporalities symposium was funded through a SSHRC Connection Grant awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and co-sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Department of Art History and Communication Studies (AHCS), Media@McGill, the McGill Faculty of Arts (Dean of Arts Development Fund), the AHCS Speaker Series, the Department of Language, Literature, and Culture, the Department of East Asian Languages, the Postgraduate Students’s Society (PGSS), and the AHCS Graduate Student Association.

Symposium committee

Dr. Axel Volmar
Dr. Kyle Stine
Prof. Jonathan Sterne