The Varieties of Temporal Experience

Travels in Philosophical, Historical, and Ethnographic Time

Michael Jackson

Columbia University Press

The Varieties of Temporal Experience

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231186018

320 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231186001

320 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231546447

320 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

The Varieties of Temporal Experience

Travels in Philosophical, Historical, and Ethnographic Time

Michael Jackson

Columbia University Press

What does it mean to live in time, between the unforeseeable and the irreversible? In The Varieties of Temporal Experience, Michael Jackson demonstrates the significance of a phenomenology of time for ethnography, philosophy, and history through a multifaceted consideration of the gap between our cultural representations of temporality and the bewildering multiplicity of our experience of being-in-time.

Jackson explores temporality in a subjective mode as a form of literary anthropology. The first part of the book tells the story of John Joseph Pawelka, whose 1910 escape from prison and subsequent disappearance became one of New Zealand’s great unsolved mysteries, discussing what it reveals about the interplay of popular stories, hidden histories, and media narratives in constructing allegories of national and moral identity. In the second, Jackson reflects on journeys up and down the islands of New Zealand, touching on the ways that personal stories are interwoven with social and historical events. Throughout this groundbreaking book, Jackson juxtaposes philosophy, history, and ethnography in an attempt to do justice to the extraordinary variety of temporal experience, at the same time exploring the ethical and existential quandaries that arise from the complexity of lived time.
The Varieties of Temporal Experience is a gripping, challenging work that brings a unique voice to questions about how we experience time. To enable the reader to dwell in experiences of time in its variety and to experience firstness, providing gentle nudges but not overwhelming the reader with a heavy apparatus, is no small achievement. Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University
This is a rich and highly important work of anthropological thought and creative writing. Through a deft combination of creative nonfiction, ethnographic fieldwork, and autobiographical reflections, Michael Jackson explores the ways that human beings engage with processes of time, history (both personal and collective), memory, and relationships in dynamic, multiple, and pragmatic ways. Robert Desjarlais, Sarah Lawrence College
In his latest work, Michael Jackson explores enigmas of the past and how stories help us to make our lives easier to live. Jackson’s anthropology draws out the vivid particularities of human experience and spins them into webs of connectivity across time, space, and culture. Like everything else Jackson has written, The Varieties of Temporal Experience juxtaposes philosophy and everyday knowledge in precise and compassionate ways. And the writing is so good, it aches to put this book down. Dominic Boyer, Rice University
This remarkable book traces how a complex tapestry of interlocking temporalities configures our experience. Taking us on a journey across a breathtaking range of moments as a story unfolds, and drawing on a diverse anthropological, literary, and philosophical archive, Jackson sheds light on what it means to live with stories of different times—from the historical to the mythological, the mundane to the fantastic. These stories remind us that life is often uncannily stitched across various temporalities and selves. The Varieties of Temporal Experience is an insightful contribution from one of the humanities’ most sophisticated and original voices. Andrew Brandel, Harvard University
Contents


Preface
The Blind Impress
Part One
Prologue
That Green Evening
The Blind Impress
The Other Side of the Tracks
Of the Woe That Is in Marriage
Manawatu
Fires of No Return
Fugue
Shots in the Dark
Recaptured
No Quarter
Escape
Starting Over
Part Two
Beyond the Call of Duty
Talking to Jack Hansen
Passing Strange
Still Life with Lading Lists
Part Three
The Remaining Pieces
Guilt and Shame
Death’s Secretary
Stories Happen
Time and Space


The Enigma of Anteriority
First Things First
Braided Rivers
Against the Grain
No Direction Home
Crossing Cook Strait
Metaphor of the Table
Destruction and Hope
Distance Looks Our Way
The Illusion of Corsica
Return to the Manawatu
Burned Places
Revenant
Te Ãti Awa
Symbolic Landscape
Two Women
The Road to Karuna Falls
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Taking a Line for a Walk


Afterword
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

About the Author

Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. His Columbia University Press books include As Wide as the World Is Wise: Reinventing Philosophical Anthropology (2016) and The Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life (2016).