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Islands of Time: Unsettling Linearity Across Deep History

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Based on archaeological and anthropological data on the socio-political effects of two historically distant extreme occurrences in nature, we explore how certain types of events unsettle progressive chronology to the extent of establishing periodic intervals of circular and repetitive temporality; ‘islands of time’. The article is built around a comparison of the socio-temporal repercussions of two extreme natural events: the El Niño-related flooding that hit southern Mozambique early in 2000 CE and the Thera eruption on Crete around 1600 BCE. Using the former as a ‘trans-temporal hinge’ for connecting otherwise disparate temporal occurrences, we show how event episodes like the Mozambique floods and the Thera eruption twist free from the hold of linearity by continuously ‘looping’ time around themselves and thereby (re)actualising their own conditions of existence. In our analysis, the empirical point of contact between the two cases is architecture and how negotiations of the built environment reflect temporal looping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-962
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

    Research areas

  • Crete, El Niño, Mozambique, Temporality, Thera eruption, EVENTS, MAPUTO, ARCHAEOLOGY, El Nino, DISASTER, ERUPTION, Theraeruption, ANTHROPOCENE

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