In 2005, Mandana Limbert and I co-organized a short seminar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe on “The Politics of Resources and their Temporalities.” That seminar became an edited volume for the SAR Advanced Seminar Series.
Timely Assets focuses on how resources, resource-making, and resource-claiming are entangled with experiences of time. Particular expressions of “resource imaginations” often have a strongly temporal aspect: they frame the past, present, and future in certain ways; they propose or preclude certain kinds of time reckoning; they inscribe teleologies; they are imbued with affects of time: nostalgia, hope, dread, spontaneity, and so on. Examining resources as various as silver in Mexico, “diversity” in an American university, and historical documents in Indonesia, the contributors to this volume ask several questions: Under what conditions and with what consequences do people find something to be a resource? What kinds of temporal experiences, concepts, or narratives does thinking of things as resources entail? How does the making and imagining of resources assume or condition particular understandings of past, present, and future? How do understandings of time shape the ways resources are named, managed, or allocated?