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Time and Globalization Working Project: Time-space Compression

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Time and Globalization Working Project: Time-space Compression

The Time and Globalization Working Project is an evolving research project that focuses on interdisciplinary investigation into the relationship between temporality and globalization.  Globalization scholarship habitually cites David Harvey’s characterization of globalization as ‘time-space compression’, but, while devoting considerable attention to space, tends to take time as a given.


This project aims to understand how dynamics, structures, processes, experiences and imaginaries of globalization interact with time, and to analyze the effect of these interactions on the condition of humans and the environment.

Questions We Are Investigating:

  • How have the differing temporalities of hegemonic or macro-structural forces, daily life, generational change, the life cycle, and our place in history changed with globalization?
  • Have risk and various future-oriented practices displaced tradition in globally shaping human imagination and conduct?
  • What effects do temporal acceleration and deceleration have on global inequalities? How does globalization interact with, shape, reveal or conceal non-human temporalities, such as evolutionary or geological time?
  • What is the role of human autonomy in resisting, shaping, and reconstructing dominant temporalities, including those associated with neoliberalism, and challenging their adverse effects?


Participants in the project include faculty members and graduate students from diverse disciplines, including Political Science, Social Work, Anthropology, Sociology, English and Cultural Studies.

Steering Committee

Susie O’Brien 

Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies

Phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 23724 

Email: obriensu@mcmaster.ca  

Experts Profile 


Susie O’Brien’s research is on postcolonial literature and culture and environmental cultural studies led to an interest in the acceleration and commodification of time that globalization entails. She has published articles on movements, such as Slow Food, that seek to challenge the dominant tendencies of temporal globalization.  Her current research focuses on how discourses of risk and resilience frame the problem of uncertainty in the context of globalization.

Paul Huebener 

Associate Professor, Athabasca University

Email: phuebener@athabascau.ca



Paul Huebener is an Assistant Professor of English in the Centre for Humanities at Athabasca University. His book Timing Canada: The Shifting Politics of Time in Canadian Literary Culture is forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Tony Porter 

Professor, Associate Director Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition 

Kenneth Taylor Hall (KTH), 536

Phone: (905) 525-9140, ext. 21288 

Email: tporter@mcmaster.ca

Experts Profile 


Tony Porter is Professor in the Department of Political Science. His interest in temporality was provoked by its relevance for understanding changes in global governance. The practice of “peer review” of states or international organizations, which originated in the OECD but has now been adopted by many other institutions, differs from more traditional governance mechanisms in its forward-looking flexibility. Risk practices have a similar future-orientation. These are very relevant for Porter’s research on transnational financial regulation.

Liam Stockdale 

Contract and Sessional Faculty, Globalization

Email: stockdlp@mcmaster.ca


Liam Stockdale is a Contract and Sessional Faculty member at the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University. His research interests sit at the intersection of international relations and contemporary political and social theory, with an emphasis on the temporalities of societal governance. He has previously published articles on the politics of pre-emptive security in the War on Terror, and the global politics of sport.

Yanqiu Rachel Zhou

Professor, Health, Aging & Society

Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23787 

Email: zhoura@mcmaster.ca

Experts Profile 


Breu, C., Furlotte, C., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Rethmann, P., Stockdale, L. & Zhou, Y. R. (2012). An Interdisciplinary Forum on Time and Globalization, IGHC Working Paper Series. Issue 12/3 (peer-reviewed), McMaster University.

Huebener, P., O’Brien, S., Porter, T., Stockdale, L., Zhou, Y. R. (2015) Introduction: Exploring the Intersection of Time and Globalization, Globalizations 13.3 [2016]

Huebener, P. (2010) Thoughts on Time-Based Readings of Canadian Literature and Culture, English Studies in Canada, 36 (2-3): 141-64.

O’Brien, S. (2015) ‘We Thought the World Was Makeable’: Scenario Planning and Postcolonial Fiction, Globalizations 13.3 [2016]

O’Brien, S. (2012) “Occupying Time.” Paper presented at Occupy Symposium. McMaster University, Hamilton ON, 20 March.

O’Brien, S. (2010) Anti-fascist gluttons of the world unite! The cultural politics of slow food.  In I. Szeman & P. Rethmann (eds.), Culture and Autonomy: Frictions and Connections,  Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp.219-39.

O’Brien, S. (2007) Survival strategies for global times: The Desert Walk for Biodiversity, Health and Heritage.  Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 9 (1): 84-99.

Porter, T., Stockdale, L. (2015) The Strategic Manipulation of Transnational Temporalities, Globalizations 13.3 [2016]

Porter, T. (2010) “Transnational peer review and temporality.” Paper presented at workshop entitled “Peer reviews as an Instrument of Global Governance,” University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, April 10.

Porter, T.  (2009) Risk Models and Transnational Governance in the Global Financial Crisis: The Cases of Basel II and Credit Rating Agencies. In E. Helleiner, S. Pagliari & H. Zimmermann (eds.), Global Finance in Crisis: The Politics of International Regulatory Change, London: Routledge, pp. 56-73.

Stockdale, L. (2013) Imagined futures and exceptional presents: A conceptual critique of ‘pre-emptive security’, Global Change, Peace & Security, 25(2), 141-157.

Zhou, Y. R., Coleman, D. W. (2015) Accelerated Contagion and Response: Understanding the Relationships among Globalization, Time, and Disease, Globalizations 13.3 [2016]

Zhou, Y. R. (2013). Time, space and care: Rethinking transnational care from a temporal perspective. Time & Society. Advance Online Publication. Doi: 10.1177/0961463X13491342. Abstract

Zhou, Y. R. (2012) Space, time, and self: Rethinking aging in the contexts of immigration and transnationalism. Journal of Aging Studies, 26(3):232-42.

Zhou, Y. R. (2010) The phenomenology of time: Lived experiences of people with HIV/AIDS in China. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 14: 310-325.