Michelle Bastian works in the areas of critical time studies and environmental humanities, with a broad focus on the role of time in social processes of inclusion and exclusion. Currently her work is focused on time-keeping practices in a context of climate crisis, and developing humanities approaches to phenology, the scientific study of life-cycle timing in plants, animals and environments. She is an Associate Professor II at the University of Oslo with the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, and in 2021-2022 was a Mid-Career Fellow supported by the Independent Social Research Foundation.
She completed her PhD in Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, and was a Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, University of Manchester, before taking up her current role in Edinburgh.
Since 2013 she has been involved in eight AHRC-funded research projects, five as principal investigator. These projects looked at time and community, local food projects, sustainable economies, temporal design and transition towns.
Her work has been published in a range of journals including Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, Environmental Humanities, GeoHumanities, Parallax, Theory, Culture and Society, andNew Formations.
Michelle is an editor of five collections including The Social Life of Time (Time & Society, 2020) Field Philosophy and Other Experiments (Parallax, 2019; republished in book form with Routledge in 2021) and Participatory Research in More-than-Human Worlds (Routledge, 2016). From 2019 she has been an Editor-in-Chief for the journal Time & Society (SAGE).
Current PhD Students (in addition to those listed below):
Adam Frank (Philosophy, U of Dundee) Living Attentively Amidst Biodiversity Loss: An Exploration of Description and Normativity in Vinciane Despret's Philosophical Ethology. Supported by a Carnegie PhD Scholarship
Ruth Griggs (SPSS Uof Edinburgh) Queering Veganism: The Shifting Sexual Politics of Veganism and the Potential of Everyday Ecotopias
Elisabeth Schøyen Jensen (University of Bergen) Urban Seasonalities. Supported by ERC funding.
Michelle is the course organiser of postgraduate seminars on Topics in Environmental Humanities and Time, Place, Belonging: understanding time in society. She runs the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network PhD Lab, and contributes to the fourth year Architectural Dissertation course.
My research focuses on two main areas:
1. Philosophy of social time and social aspects of time-keeping
My work seeks to open up new interdisciplinary conversations between philosophy, the social sciences and design. Building on my training in feminist, environmental and continental philosophy, my research has drawn on social scientific work on social time to rethink key philosophical questions around the politics of time and the construction of communities. These approaches often challenge the way that time, and time-reckoning tools, have been treated by philosophers. I also explore new avenues for philosophical enquiry, including engagements with designers and field-based research approaches.
2. Concepts and methods for supporting more-than-human communities
Extending my work on the relationship between time and communities to the issue of more-than-human communities, I seek to bring critical time studies into conversation with environmental humanities to explore how social concepts of time are involved in the construction of nature as outside of culture and everyday human concerns. In particular I have argued for expanding the scope of relationships we look to when ‘telling time’. A further key aspect of this work has been again to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues, including my work on more-than-human participatory research, which brings human-focused participatory research methods into conversation with multi-species research methods. More recently, I have been funded by the ISRF to collaborate across phenology (the scientific study of life-cycle timing in plants and animals) and environmental humanities.