Call for Contributions: Cultures of Repair (edited collection)
Edited by Mark Rainey and Theo Reeves-Evison, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
Suggested themes: Aesthetics of Repair, Technologies of Repair, Post-Colonial Reparations, Reparative Justice
What does it mean to repair something? Is it to restore function, to compensate for a fault, deterioration, or deficiency, or can the concept be expanded to account for a general condition whereby a constitutive fault is repaired by art, technology, justice or invention?
This book aims to mediate between concrete ‘cultures of repair’ and more abstract conceptions in the spheres of philosophy and psychoanalysis. The following is a indication of the conceptual range of ‘the repair’ which we intend to explore in this edited collection. Submissions may address the following themes, although they are not limited to them:
Aesthetics of Repair
In The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce famously writes of going forth to ‘forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race’. This gesture positions art as a consciousness-shaping agency. But what if this vision of creation ‘ex nihilo’ were to be replaced by another based on repairing, combining, and re-tooling materials already at hand? This alternative vision would force us to reconsider the foundations of modernism, and replace myths of rupture and perfection with a celebration of the repair and its material traces.
Technologies of Repair
If we concede that culture has the ability to be repaired, the next question that presents itself is what exactly is the fault. Already in Greek culture there exists a tragic dynamic of man ‘after the fall’. To compensate for this lack at the level of Being, man is driven to weave symbolic webs – worldwide webs – that blur the boundaries between ‘what’ and ‘who’. A section of this book will therefore be devoted to the question of technology as repair, inspired by media philosophy, that positions technics as a constitutive element of humanity as such.
Joyce’s invocation of an uncreated Irish consciousness opens out onto the question of the repair in post-colonial cultures. Specifically, what are the implications of demanding ‘reparations’ for historical grievances, and how can we define reparation as distinct from retribution? If here the repair is an act of joining, of restoring, retribution works instead to deepen division. Here the repair touches on a more general ethics, with far reaching political ramifications.
Justice or diké holds an important position in ancient Greek texts, from Sophoclean tragedy to Plato’s Republic. In these texts justice is often the term on which visions of community turn after being torn asunder. Yet, a reparative justice may suggest something distinct from restorative justice and may imply new configurations and inventions in place of the reconstitution of former societal structures. In this sense it may be considered transformative. A Reparative justice may also need to consider and respond to attempts to universalise justice in the west, from Platonic metaphysics to Christianity.
To submit a chapter proposal for this edited collection please send an abstract of no more than 300 words. If selected, chapters should be 5,000 words in length. The deadline for abstract submission is 30 June 2013.
All submissions and inquiries should be directed to the editors: