Call for papers – Repair: A Method for the 21st Century?

27th & 28th May 2021

Papers due 5pm on Weds 24th February

Department of Art History and World Art Studies, UEA

This conference explores the concept of repair. Often understood as a form of care,
repair is sometimes framed as a mechanical intervention and at other times situated in
a genealogy of related feminist scholarship. There are similarities, correspondences
and isomorphisms in these diverse applications of the concept. Repair can be
conceived in ethical and aesthetic registers and bring out their implication with one
another. The openness of the concept allows us to attune to the requirements of the
age, but also demands conceptual scrutiny.

Here, we are interested in the temporality of repair. How do we understand repair as
process? The etymology of repair posits that the word is derived from the Latin parāre,
the idea of making ready, preparing, and producing. As Reeves-Evison and Rainey
(2018: 2) state: ‘Like renovation and restoration, an act of repair also holds the future in
its sights, but this future is not treated as the receptacle for an ideal situated in the past.’
So, if repair does not imply a return to an original state, how should the temporality of
repair be construed? How do renewal and reconstruction recognize the failure that left
the object or subject in a state of repair? Recognizing the damage done, how does one
trace futurity in the open-endedness of repair?

In this era of late-capitalist modernity, when human impact on the Earth is undeniable
and the Sixth Mass Extinction is underway, what also needs repair, perhaps, is hope. In
his study of Fijian political activism, the anthropologist Miyazaki (2006) explored hope
as a method. Following his exploration, we would like to explore repair as a method to
address the challenges of our time. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, we welcome
papers from a wide range of disciplines – archaeology, anthropology, art history,
cultural heritage and museum studies – to examine how repair may operate as a
method in different states of emergency.

Please send a 200-word abstract and a 100-word bio to the organiser by 5pm on 24th
February 2021. Email:

Image credits: “A kintsugi repair kit” by Pomax is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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