On Critical Times: Return, Repetition, and the Uncanny Present

Journal article

Bryant, Rebecca (2016) On Critical Times: Return, Repetition, and the Uncanny Present, History and Anthropology 27 (1): 19–31.

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This article posits that the vernacular understanding of crisis as existing in a different sort of time needs to be mined for what it tells us about social perceptions of temporality. Using three ethnographic examples from Cyprus, I ask here what temporal features we may identify that lead our interlocutors to see certain periods as “times of crisis”. In particular, I propose a notion that I call the uncanny present to refer to a particular sense of present-ness produced by futures that cannot be anticipated. Crisis, I claim, becomes such precisely because it brings the present into consciousness, creating an awareness or perception of present-ness that we do not normally have.

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