University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The University Symposium for 2006-08 focused on how we perceive and construct Time.

Time lies at the center of existence itself; it is a foundational element in the universe. Yet how we perceive time, how we construct our consciousness of time, and how we ascribe meaning to it varies widely by culture, by society, and, within the academy, by discipline.

Scholars across the curriculum view time as a vital element in the production of knowledge, yet they understand and use time in a wide variety of ways. The geologist’s examination of time over vast eons, for instance, distinctly differs from the biographer’s examination of a single human lifetime, while the physicist and the philosopher, in contrast, may share fundamental ideas about time as one among many dimensions.

Because so many disciplines deal with time, it is a fertile topic for interdisciplinary discussion. The Time Symposium brought together scholars and artists from across the university in a comparative, multi-disciplinary discussion of this crucial structural element in the production of knowledge. Much was gained from this conversation as we explore ways in which disciplinary boundaries and ways of thinking might be interrogated and illuminated, expanded or transformed by alternative understandings of time.