“Not all people exist in the same Now,” claimed Ernst Bloch in his seminal 1932 book Erbschaft dieser Zeit (“Heritage of Our Times”). The rhythms of modernity had fractured society into isolated temporal worlds. While individuals occupied the same space, he argued, they lived ungleichzeitig – out of sync. Synchronism speaks to a temporal relation, a shared rhythm, or attunement between subjects, media, and societies; it emerges (or does not) at points of contact: at the threshold or the border and in networks of communication and exchange. More so than simultaneity or contemporaneity, synchronism holds the promise of a collapse of separation, a coming together of disparate objects or states of being. Yet the promise of synchronism is also an aporia, always pregnant with the threat of its own negation or of stagnant homogeneity.
Grown out of our hyper-networked society that is simultaneously polarizing on concepts of nation, citizenship and freedom – on what it means to be in sync – this conference interrogates the promise inhered in synchronization through interdisciplinary panels, workshops and media presentations. Keynote addresses will be delivered by philosopher and art theorist Christoph Cox (Hampshire College) and cultural historian Helge Jordheim (University of Norway).
In the lead-up to the conference, the Department of German will host an interdepartmental reading group featuring texts from philosophy, media studies, affect theory, sociology and on. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate.
Co-sponsored by the Department of German, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Department of English, the Department of History, the Department of Film and Media, the History of Art Department, the Institute for European Studies, the Folklore Program, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. In collaboration with the Program in Critical Theory and the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.
Learn more about the event here.