Temporalities of Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is an elastic concept that emerges in relation to ostensibly disparate interventions into bodies, lives, and landscapes. From addiction to environmentalism, incarceration to neuropsychology, the term finds ground in organized and generally institutionalized arenas of care and punishment. But it is also enmeshed in specific temporal forms that fold past and future together in the notion of a “return” to some ideal or normal state. Anthropologists have conducted fieldwork in diverse contexts of treatment, including the rehabilitation of former rebels (Dubal 2018), orangutans (Salazar Parreñas 2012), convicted sex offenders (Borneman 2015), amputees (Manderson 2011) and addicts (Garcia 2010). Yet there is much to be gained from bringing these different threads of scholarship together to understand how and why rehabilitation adheres to diverse situations – and, in particular, how the objects of rehabilitative interventions emerge in relation to specific pasts and futures.

This panel aims to produce a conversation across these different rehabilitative spheres in order to interrogate the temporal forms that reside within the concept. The panel will therefore bring together scholars working on rehabilitation in its various forms in order to analyze the temporalities that it carries in and through our various field sites. In doing so, we hope to reflect upon the following questions: What makes rehabilitation available as a future-oriented concept across seemingly disparate contexts as a narrative of treatment or reform? What does it mean to rehabilitate a river system, an incarcerated person, a concept, or a veteran? What regimes of futurity, hope, and care are indexed in this widespread use? How does rehabilitation speak to other forms, such as recovery, conversion, chronicity, reparation, or crisis? How does the “re” of rehabilitation hold together pasts and futures?

We invite papers dealing with rehabilitation and/or closely related concepts, which speak to its times and temporalities. We hope to generate a critical discussion on rehabilitative pasts and futures in a panel that reflects upon diverse rehabilitative domains and forms.

This panel is organized by David Thompson and Maxfield Waterman, PhD candidates at UC Berkeley. Please email 250 word abstracts with paper title and presenter information to david.thompson@berkeley.edu and maxfield.waterman@berkeley.edu by April 1. Those who send abstracts will be informed of final decisions by April 3.