New openaccess publication: ‘Thick time’


This paper develops the concept of ‘thick time’ through podcast experiments that foreground feminist voice, speech and aurality. Drawing upon William Kentridge’s notion of ‘thick time’, this paper draws upon gendered experiences of struggles that are accumulated over generations, reinforced through technologies of timekeeping and time-management, leading to a state of permanent crisis. In particular, it focusses on gendered time through thick descriptions marked by fragmentation and simultaneity and heavy with the struggles of the past, present and future. Using experimentation as a method of examining thick time, I document how the temporalities of an intimate domesticity under crisis unfolds in parallel with the public crisis of a pandemic. Experimentation emerges in podcast training workshops with young women living in resettlement colonies in Delhi’s urban peripheries, leading to a series of four podcasts co-produced remotely during the COVID19 lockdown. These podcasts are marked by fragments of speech, poetry, and music by those who are unable to speak to the state or to their families directly. They suggest how entangling the body (as voice, accent and language) with thick descriptions of time is possible through the unwinding, slowing down, rewinding and enriching the experience and significance of time in their lives. The podcasts are marked by repetition, futility, in-betweenness and remarkability, and the paper suggests that podcasts as experiments in value-laden thick descriptions of time can reveal pathways to feminist urban futures.

Datta, A. (2022) ‘Thick time’: Experiments with feminist urban futures in community podcasts, [2021 RGS-IBG plenary] Geoforum.