For over a decade, Carolyn Dinshaw, chair of NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, has been studying asynchronies of time and the relation between the past, present, and future compared to the linear measurements of everyday life.
The boundaries and perceptions of time are constantly blurred, changing the value of the present. When Dinshaw witnessed a man in a bathrobe at a Medieval Festival in New York, she realized that this simple garment drew together all aspects of time, challenging our linear view of the present.
In her most recent book, How Soon Is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time, Dinshaw performs a critique of modernist temporal regimes through its exploration of queer ways of being in time as well as of the potential queerness of time itself. The work is composed of a series of asynchrony stories, literary criticism, argued theory, and autobiography.
Dinshaw, also a professor in NYU’s Department of English, questions our interaction with the past, present, and future. In doing so, she contends our linear perception of time prevents us from seeing the more crowded “now” theorists tell us is extant, but that often eludes our temporal grasp.
Her other published works include Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, and, co-edited with David Wallace, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women's Writing.