This volume explores 'unknown time' as a cultural phenomenon, approaching past futures, unknown presents, and future pasts through a broad range of different disciplines, media, and contexts. As a phenomenon that is both elusive and fundamentally inaccessible, time is a key object of fascination. Throughout the ages, different cultures have been deeply engaged in various attempts to fill or make time by developing strategies to familiarize unknown time and to materialize and control past, present, or future time. Arguing for the perennial interest in time, especially in the unknown and unattainable dimension of the future, the contributions explore premodern ideas about eschatology and secular future, historical configurations of the perception of time and acceleration in fin-de-siècle Germany and contemporary Lagos, the formation of 'deep time' and 'timelessness' in paleontology and ethnographic museums, and the representation of time-past, present, and future alike-in music, film, and science fiction.
Sibylle Baumbach is Professor of English Literature at Innsbruck University, Austria.
Lena Henningsen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany.
Klaus Oschema is Professor of Medieval History at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.
All editors are members or alumni of the German Young Academy (Die Junge Akademie).
1. Time in the Making: Why All the Fuss about Time? On Time, the Unknown, and Fascination (Sibylle Baumbach, Lena Henningsen, and Klaus Oschema)
I. Past Futures
2. The Old Made New: Medieval Repurposing of Prophecies (Anke Holdenried)
3. 'Wunschzeit' Jerusalem: Rethinking the Distinction between Time and Space in Medieval Utopias (Christian Hoffarth)
4. Living on the Edge of Time: Temporal Patterns and Irregularities in Byzantine Historical Apocalypses (András Kraft)
5. Unknown or Uncertain? Astrologers, the Church, and the Future in the Late Middle Ages (Klaus Oschema)
6. "From the Unknown to the Known and Backwards": Representing and Presenting Remote Time in Nineteenth-Century Palaeontology (Marco Tamborini)
II. Unknown Presents
7. Introducing Time to Ethnographic Displays: Narrative Strategies of Revealing the Unknown in German Ethnological Museums (Katja Wehde)
8. "God's Time Is the Best": The Fascination with Unknown Time in Urban Transport in Lagos (Daniel E. Agbiboa)
9. Perpetual Wanderers-Timeless Heroes: Gypsies in European Musical Culture (Anna G. Piotrowska)
10. The Present: An 'Unknown Time' in the German Kaiserreich around 1900 (Caroline Rothauge)
III. Future Pasts
11. The Time-Image and the Unknown in Wong Kar-wai's Film Art (Dorothee Xiaolong Hou and Sheldon H. Lu)
12. Suspense in the Cinema: Knowledge and Time (Hauke Lehmann)
13. Futurology, Allegory, Time Travel: What Makes Science Fiction Fascinating (Kai Wiegandt)