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Timely Assets

The Politics of Resources and Their Temporalities

Edited by Elizabeth Emma Ferry and Mandana E. Limbert

Timely Assets2008. 298 pp., 18 illustrations, notes, references, index, 6 x 92008. 298 pp., 18 illustrations, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Oil is running out. What’s more, its final depletion, once relegated to a misty future, now seems imminent. In all the more or less apocalyptic discussions of oil and similar depleted resources, nature, labor, and time converge. This volume focuses on how resources, resource-making, and resource-claiming are entangled with experiences of time. Particular expressions of “resource imaginations” often have a strongly temporal aspect: they frame the past, present, and future in certain ways; they propose or preclude certain kinds of time reckoning; they inscribe teleologies; they are imbued with affects of time: nostalgia, hope, dread, spontaneity, and so on. Examining resources as various as silver in Mexico, “diversity” in an American university, and historical documents in Indonesia, the contributors to this volume ask several questions: Under what conditions and with what consequences do people find something to be a resource? What kinds of temporal experiences, concepts, or narratives does thinking of things as resources entail? How does the making and imagining of resources assume or condition particular understandings of past, present, and future? How do understandings of time shape the ways resources are named, managed, or allocated?

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Contributors: Courtney Childs, Paul K. Eiss, Elizabeth Emma Ferry, Richard Handler, Mandana E. Limbert, Celia Lowe, Erik Mueggler, Paul E. Nadasdy, Huong Nguyen, Karen Strassler

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  • “The grounded ethnographic treatment of the multiplicity of temporal relations...in this collection is revelatory. The focus on the 'future to be' many of these papers provide is a particularly useful contribution to a new and exciting conversation emerging about the future as an ethnographic site.”
    Pete Richardson, University of Michigan

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