Explorations in Time and Temporality

A Public Humanities Project by the Geoffrion Family Fellows at Miami University’s Humanities Center 2019-2020

About the Time and Temporality Project

The topic of the 2019-20 Altman Program is “Time and Temporality” and it invites faculty, students, alumni, and the public to explore the multiplicity of temporal experiences in our lives. How do clock and calendar time relate to natural cycles and lived experience? How has the human sense of temporality changed historically in response to social, economic, political, technical, and cultural forces?  How do the arts and literature express, modify, and conceptualize the complexity of time? What are the pleasures and pains of time? To the extent that time is a human experience, how might the humanities be positioned to release or create its meanings? In an era of emphasis on spatial representation and big data, can renewed attention to temporality help us reframe our experience, our world, and the challenges we face?

These are the questions the Altman Program’s six Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows sought to answer through taking an upper-level seminar “Time and Temporality” course, attending distinguished lectures and panels and undertaking our own research.

For this project, we interviewed various experts in an attempt to illuminate interdisciplinary perspectives on the nature of time, how we think about it, and our place in it. This website includes their interviews curated into podcasts that attempt to put them in conversation. We felt that sharing the conversations our Altman Program speakers have started with a broader public would prompt our peers outside of the Altman Program and Miami University to engage with these important and ongoing conversations about the nature of truth.



About the Altman Program

The Altman Fellows Program is the largest program of the Miami University Humanities Center. Its goal is to foster collaboration, pedagogical innovation, and new research across the humanities at Miami.

Each year, the Humanities Center Steering Committee selects a team of two Altman Fellows to cultivate interdisciplinary inquiry into a topic of their own design. Altman Fellows work with six or more Altman Faculty Scholars, distinguished visiting scholars, and select graduate and undergraduate students in a year-long interdisciplinary exploration of key issues in the humanities. The program includes a faculty seminar, which meets roughly five times per semester; a new upper-division course on the annual theme, team-taught by faculty fellows; an undergraduate fellows initiative, designed to promote excellence in undergraduate research; and a substantial program of public events. Public events are entirely supported with Humanities Center funding and typically include distinguished lectures, works-in-progress talks, and a major symposium or conference.



About the Geoffrion Fellows

The Geoffrion Family Fellowship is the highest honor awarded by the Miami University Humanities Center to an undergraduate.  Up to six students are selected annually. They receive extraordinary opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty, interact with distinguished visiting writers and intellectuals, and develop advanced skills in research and public engagement. 

The Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows Program is part of the annual Altman Program in the Humanities.  It is open to outstanding Miami University undergraduates who seek an opportunity to explore advanced scholarship in the humanities. Geoffrion Fellows join the Altman faculty research community of eight to ten professors from a range of academic disciplines. This faculty group gathers to study an issue of consequence through a special faculty seminar and a series of public lectures, conferences, and other events. Two members of the faculty research group also teach a special 400-level course on the theme of the Altman Program.

The goal of the program is to offer ambitious undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent inquiry, an introduction to research collaboration in the humanities, and a sense of what it is like to be a professor of history, philosophy, language, literature, or culture. 

Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows are sometimes invited to be guests in the Altman Faculty Research Seminar.  They have opportunities to meet with distinguished visitors and on occasion interview or dine with them. Working closely with faculty fellows and the Altman Graduate Fellow, each Geoffrion Fellow develops an independent research project, a formal presentation of this project, and a collaborative public humanities project.  Individual research projects may count for departmental honors or Honors Program credit. Collaborative public humanities projects can include a range of creative projects, including development of a website, blog, archive, podcast, or film; creation of press materials for conferences and visiting scholars; organization of a film series, book club, or community service project; or publication in a non-scholarly magazine or newsletter.