Michelle Bastian

I am a Chancellor’s Fellow at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.

In attempting to explain humanity’s inability to respond swiftly and proportionately to the massive ecological changes currently taking place, environmentalist Bill McKibben has suggested that one of the key problems is not a lack of will or a simple inability to act. Instead he suggests that we are in the grips of a fatal confusion about the nature of time. Drawing on my work on the role of temporality in feminist reconceptualisations of community, currently being developed into a monograph entitled Temporal Belongings: Feminism, Community and Time, I’m interested in exploring this ‘fatal confusion’ and how it may be shaping our sense of how we are with others, and who we are with, in this time of extinctions.

Through an interdisciplinary approach that draws on anthropology, sociology, feminist philosophy and continental philosophy, this research project utilises a number of case studies to explore the way varying concepts of temporality and belonging are mobilised in the context of climate change and resource depletion. Drawing on work on multi-species communities and the relational nature of time, I’m exploring the complex temporal worlds that are opened up when we begin to think through the materiality of time, and the various forms of relationally it enables. Riffing on Donna Haraway’s definition of figurations as ‘condensed maps of contestable worlds’ I’m interested in exploring figures that could act as ‘condensed clocks of contestable worlds’ in order to propose new modes of time-keeping in an age of climate change and mass extinctions. For more information

Relevant Publications
Bastian, M. (2012). “Fatally Confused: Telling the time in the Midst of Ecological Crises.” Environmental Philosophy 9(1): 23-48.
Bastian, M. (2009) “Inventing Nature: Re-writing Time and Agency in a More-than-Human WorldEcological Humanities in the Australian Humanities Review, 47 (November) 99-116.

Relevant Presentations
Bastian, M. and Thom van Dooren (2010) “The pace of conservation: Telling time with vultures” Paper presented at the Science & Justice Working Group Meeting, UCSC, Santa Cruz, 6 October 2010.
Bastian, M. (2010) “Fatally Confused about Time: Climate Change and Non-Performativity”. Paper presented at the Performatives after Deconstruction Conference, Kingston University London, Kingston, 29-30 June 2010.
Bastian, M. (2009) “Negotiating Past and Future: Ideologies of time and the re-localisation of food production” Paper presented at Sustaining Food: Conference on Past and Present Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver, 20th March 2009.