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Stockholm Archipelago Lecture Series

The Archipelago Lecture Series has been a flagship event, inauguring every year the EHL’s public academic activities. Inspired by the variety of the islands making up the Stockholm Archipelago, the EHL has proposed a vision of the environmental humanities as an open, diverse nonetheless connected archipelago of disciplines and approaches. David Lowenthal gave the inspiring inaugural lecture in 2012, and since we have hosted eleven distinguished guests including Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, African philosopher Achille Mbembe and US political scientist Nancy Fraser, just to mention a few.

The 12th Archipelago Lecture, December 7th, 2023:

We are pleased to welcome Michelle Bastian to be our speaker at this year’s Archipelago lecture, titled "Is slowing down a trap?".


Thinking around sustainability has suggested at least five narratives of ‘sustaining time’ – that is stories about what kind of time will support more sustainable futures. These narratives often seek to counter a sped-up, over-worked, short-term, progress-oriented world. In contrast, a sustainable world is imagined as one imbued with long-term thinking, various versions of de-growth, a slower pace, more cyclical processes, and reduced working hours. In this year Archipelago Lecture, field philosopher Michelle Bastian suggests that the charisma of these sustaining times may actually reduce our ability to respond well to the current polycrisis, by pushing us to think of binary solutions to the problem of time. Far from providing solutions, she argues that these alternatives often perform a concern with time, while at best maintaining the status quo, or worse, covering over increasing destruction and inequality. She will instead suggest that in order to think about what is really crucial for re-storying time for more livable futures we need more detailed, concrete, and relational interventions that take context into account.

About Michelle Bastian

Michelle Bastian works in the areas of critical time studies and environmental humanities, with a broad focus on the role of time in social processes of inclusion and exclusion. Currently, her work is focused on time-keeping practices in the context of the climate crisis, and developing humanities approaches to phenology, the scientific study of life-cycle timing in plants, animals, and environments. She is an Associate Professor II at the University of Oslo with the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, and in 2021-2022 was a Mid-Career Fellow supported by the Independent Social Research Foundation.