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Abstracts due: 19 June 2019

Special Issue

The timescapes of teaching in higher education

Time and change have become significant yet taken-for-granted discourses across globalised, diversified and corporatised higher education (HE) landscapes. Contemporary HE is characterized by a precarious uncertainty, increasingly driven by strong narratives of anticipated futures. Anticipated change in the present and the future is projected onto the institutional and individual investments, risks, promises and possibilities that higher education presents at multiple levels and in a range of contexts. However, the inequalities that underpin different future-oriented investments in higher education are often made invisible by the logic of making the ‘right’ (calculated and rational) choices and ‘effectively’ managing time and change in the present (this plays out differently in different contexts). Despite the centrality of time in the (re)framing and restructuring of an imagined contemporary higher education landscape, there has been limited consideration given to conceptualizing time in HE research. The dearth of research on higher education that foregrounds questions of time tends in itself to assist in the taken-for-granted ‘business-as-usual’ or TINA (there is no alternative) effect, reproducing particular spatio-temporal structures, practices, embodiments and investments. This Special Issue theorises, critiques and extends concepts and discourses of time to examine change and innovation in higher education, re/imaginings of past and future and the emergent and changing forms of pedagogical practice and experience being generated in particular contexts.

Adam’s concept of timescapes (1998; 54) is powerful for evoking and extending the imagery of landscapes, enabling an understanding of time as entwined with space, conceptually drawn and constituted experientially. Space-time is deeply relational, contextual and experiential, forming overarching narratives of higher education, its purpose and its future. As these then become in/visibilised and subsumed, in various ways and in different contexts, into hegemonic discourses of individual responsibility and choice, new temporal framings must then be carefully re-negotiated and self-managed by students and teachers. The papers in this Special Issue thus draw on theoretical and empirical contributions to examine intersecting pressures and [im]possibilities across different ‘timescapes’ in higher education.

This forthcoming special issue of Teaching in Higher Education will explore higher education in times of change, inviting papers that contribute to understanding how time is conceptualised and/or experienced in higher education, the impact of this on teaching and learning practices and identities and how discourses of the ‘management’ of time and change shapes and constrains policies and imagined possibilities. This call for papers is wide-ranging and the following list of possible questions is intended to be indicative rather than prescriptive – we will consider any contribution addressing issues of time in higher education as they relate to broader pedagogical challenges and uncertainties:

  • How is ‘time’ structured, constructed and experienced in contemporary higher education and how do these shape processes of change? How are these processes entangled in notions of past and future, and how do these produce particular dispositions, identities or relationships to time and space?
  • How do managerial discourses about ‘individual choice’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘success’ generate inequalities, exclusions and differences in relation to time, space and change? With what effects?
  • By what processes do universities develop curricula and pedagogies that are embedded in particular assumptions about the future of higher education? How is this related to notions of the purpose of higher education?
  • What is the impact of particular notions of time on efforts to widen participation in higher education? How might new conceptualisations of time create more inclusive and/or equitable higher education spaces?
  • How are policy agendas such as equity and employabily framed by particular temporalities in higher education structures? How does this impact on pedagogical experiences, identities and relationalities?
  • How might notions of flexibility be re/imagined in relation to time and temporality in curricular and/or pedagogical structures?
  • Does technology, digitisation and globalisation have a role to play in re/shaping pedagogical temporalities and spaces? How might we bring digital technologies to play in re/imagining higher education futures through critical perspectives and theories?
  • In what ways do notions of time (such as being ‘time-poor’ or ‘intensification’) play out in relation to reflexivity and/or critical reflection in pedagogical approaches and experiences?
  • What are the challenges for the critical education and development of self-reflexivity of students from mainstream culturally hegemonic backgrounds?
  • How might student and curricular orientations towards discourses of employability, shape or narrow pedagogical experience, particularly in contexts where jobs and industries they must anticipate have not yet even arrived.
  • How are notions of student ‘preparedness’ or ‘readiness’ related to particular concepts of time and change? How does this impact on curricular or pedagogical temporalities?
  • How do (anticipated) changes in higher education create an accelerated work pace, which sees work-life and personal-life becoming increasingly entangled?

Instructions for Submitting

Potential authors are asked to submit abstracts of up to 500 words with a deadline of 5pm (GMT) on 8th July 2019. Abstracts should provide an outline of the proposed paper, including its empirical, theoretical and/or philosophical basis. We actively welcome abstracts from across the globe. 

Abstracts should be submitted online here.  We expect to inform successful authors in July 2019, with a provisional submission date for full papers of 30th October 2019.

The special issue will be published in April 2020.

Co-editors: Penny Jane Burke (University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia) and Catherine Manathunga (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia)



Adam B (1998). Timescapes of modernity: the Environment and Invisible Hazards. London: Routledge.

Teaching in Higher Education

Table of Contents for Teaching in Higher Education. List of articles from both the latest and ahead of print issues.

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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