Closing Workshop

“Zeitenwende(n)” – Tipping Points of our Times?

March 31, 2023

After a semester of interdisciplinary exchange and debate on the various scales, models, and concepts of temporality, the Thematic Einstein Forum “Scales of Temporality” would like to reflect on the findings and on future challenges in a closing workshop. In order to do so, we want to shift our focus from the abstract and theoretical discussion to the pressing matters of our time; how can we relate mathematical and philological research and theory to the current political, social, and environmental experiences of crisis of our times? Namely, what can the mathematical sciences and literary studies contribute to the historical and political notion of “Zeitenwende(n)”? One year after the invasion of Russia into Ukraine and during the ongoing warfare, the term coined prominently by German chancellor Scholz addresses the mode of time that might escape its theoretical conceptualization, as it connects a historiographical and political perspective of a non-foreseen shift in the state of affairs with the experience of our times as tumultuous and uncertain. How can the models we discussed in works of literature, in calculations on probability, in the description of evolutionary processes and in the perception of time in philosophy help us to understand, analyze and re-narrate political and social changes? How can models such as tragic peripety or the reversal effects in tipping points be applied to clarify our description of the times of experience and of possible courses of action? How do mathematical and literary models apply to the Anthropocene, to climate change, to intergenerational responsibility or to the ongoing processes of globalization, circulation of goods and of migration?


10:00 – 11:00 Simon Godart: “Zeitenwende as Peripeteia?”
11:00 – 11:30  Coffee break
11:30 – 12:30  Eva Axer: “Diverging Temporalities and the Question of Change. On ‘Model Thinking’ in Literary Theory (C. Levine) and Climate Fiction (R. Powers, KS Robinson)”
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break 
14:00 – 15:00 Anders Levemann “The folding of the world: infinite growth on a finite planet”
15:00 – 15:30 Coffee break

Friederike Schäfer: “A brief traversal through scales that pertain to the Anthropocene—via 5 objects & 5 scenes

16:30 closing remarks


Time and place

The closing workshop will take place on March 31, 2023, starting at 10:00 am.

Freie Universität Berlin

Conference room of the Cluster EXC 2020

Raum 0.07

Otto-von-Simson Straße 15
14195 Berlin