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Working Groups

Globalization and Time Working Group

The Globalization and Time Working Project is an evolving research project that focuses on interdisciplinary investigation into the relationship between temporality and globalization.  Globalization scholarship habitually cites David Harvey’s characterization of globalization as “time-space compression”, but, while devoting considerable attention to space, tends to take time as a given. The Globalization and Time Working Project aims to understand how dynamics, structures, processes, experiences and imaginaries of globalization interact with time, and to analyze the effect of these interactions on the condition of humans and the environment.

Among the questions we are investigating are: How have the differing temporalities of hegemonic or macro-structural forces, daily life, generational change, the life cycle, and our place in history changed with globalization? Have risk and various future-oriented practices displaced tradition in globally shaping human imagination and conduct? What effects do temporal acceleration and deceleration have on global inequalities? How does globalization interact with, shape, reveal or conceal non-human temporalities, such as evolutionary or geological time? What is the role of human autonomy in resisting, shaping, and reconstructing dominant temporalities, including those associated with neoliberalism, and challenging their adverse effects?

Participants in the project include faculty members and graduate students from diverse disciplines, including Political Science, Social Work, Anthropology, Sociology, English and Cultural Studies.


Steering Committee

Paul Huebener

Paul Huebener is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where he is researching cultural and literary constructions of time in Canada. His work investigates how social power relations in Canada are deeply tied to prevalent cultural models of time, how temporal agency and disempowerment are closely linked to categories of age, class, race, indigeneity, gender, and nature, and how Canadian literature and other arts serve a vital function in both witnessing and questioning these relationships.

Susie O’Brien

Susie O'Brien is an Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies. Her research on postcolonial literature and culture and environmental cultural studies led to an interest in the acceleration and commodification of time that globalization entails. She has published articles on movements, such as Slow Food, that seek to challenge the dominant tendencies of temporal globalization.  Her current research focuses on how discourses of risk and resilience frame the problem of uncertainty in the context of globalization.

Tony Porter

Tony Porter is Professor of Political Science at the Department of Political Science. His interest in temporality was provoked by its relevance for understanding changes in global governance. The practice of “peer review” of states or international organizations, which originated in the OECD but has now been adopted by many other institutions, differs from more traditional governance mechanisms in its forward-looking flexibility. Risk practices have a similar future-orientation. These are very relevant for Porter’s research on transnational financial regulation.

Liam Stockdale

Liam Stockdale is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the Department of Political Science, McMaster University. His dissertation is concerned with exploring the question of time in international politics, with a particular focus upon the modes of temporal governance enacted by the rise of discourses of risk management and pre-emption in the post-9/11 global security climate. His broader research interests lie at the intersection of contemporary world politics and political and social theory, with a specific interest in how the problem of temporal contingency relates to questions of sovereignty and security in the current moment.

Y. Rachel Zhou

Rachel Zhou is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work and the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition.  Through several research projects focusing on immigrants in Canada and their public policy implications, she has developed a strong interest in understanding the relationship between immigration and temporalities in the ongoing processes of globalization (not limited to economic globalization): in particular, how has human migration, as a complicated, autonomous and transnational phenomenon, both reproduced and challenged the dominant temporalities and temporal inequalities associated with nation-states and global capitalism?


Publications & Work in Progress

Breu, C., Furlotte, C., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Rethmann, P., Stockdale, L. & Zhou, Y. R. (2012). An Interdisciplinary Forum on Time and Globalization, IGHC Working Paper Series. Issue 12/3 (peer-reviewed), McMaster University. 

Huebener, P. (2010) Thoughts on Time-Based Readings of Canadian Literature and Culture, English Studies in Canada, 36 (2-3): 141-64.

O'Brien, S. (2012) "Occupying Time." Paper presented at Occupy Symposium. McMaster University, Hamilton ON, 20 March.

O’Brien, S. (2010) Anti-fascist gluttons of the world unite! The cultural politics of slow food.  In I. Szeman & P. Rethmann (eds.), Culture and Autonomy: Frictions and Connections,  Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp.219-39.

O’Brien, S. (2007) Survival strategies for global times: The Desert Walk for Biodiversity, Health and Heritage.  Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 9 (1): 84-99.

Porter, T.  (2009) Risk Models and Transnational Governance in the Global Financial Crisis: The Cases of Basel II and Credit Rating Agencies. In E. Helleiner, S. Pagliari & H. Zimmermann (eds.), Global Finance in Crisis: The Politics of International Regulatory Change, London: Routledge, pp. 56-73.

Porter, T. (2010) "Transnational peer review and temporality." Paper presented at workshop entitled “Peer reviews as an Instrument of Global Governance,” University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, April 10.

Stockdale, L. (2011) "Thinking Through Pre-emptive Security: Catastrophe, Imagination, Temporality, Affect." Paper presented at the International Studies Association annual convention, Montreal, QC, 16-19 March.

Zhou, Y. R. (2012) Space, time, and self: Rethinking aging in the contexts of immigration and transnationalism. Journal of Aging Studies, 26(3):232-42.

Zhou, Y. R. (2010) The phenomenology of time: Lived experiences of people with HIV/AIDS in China. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 14: 310-325.

Zhou, Y. R. (2009) "'Time travel': An alternative conceptual framework for understanding the phenomenon of transnational caregiving." Paper presented at the Globalization Lunch Lecture Series, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, October 27.

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