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Recovery, reconfiguration, and repair: Mobilising the social sciences and humanities for a post-pandemic world

Recovery, reconfiguration, and repair: Mobilising the social sciences and humanities for a post-pandemic world

The Alfred Deakin Institute’s flagship annual international conference

Human crises of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic expose the foundations of our lives and compel questions about the possibilities for our futures. The pandemic—a crisis simultaneously medical, cultural, political, ecological, and economic—has carved new fault-lines within our societies, intensified existing ones, and also opened new possibilities for care and human solidarity. COVID-19 is, or should be, both a “wake up call” (Delanty, 2020) and a “portal” (Roy 2020). The possibilities of a post-COVID world, then, rest not only on questions of vaccination or herd immunity, but on multifaceted, human processes of recovery, reconfiguration, and repair. The social sciences and humanities are powerfully placed to inform these processes and the kinds of post-COVID world we may yet inhabit.

In this global, interdisciplinary conference we invite panels and papers that draw from the humanities and social science disciplines to attend to these urgent tasks of recovery, reconfiguration, and repair. In doing so, we also acknowledge and invite consideration of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic represents only one of many intersecting crises, both acute and ongoing, with which many people and places have had to contend. These include the ongoing crises of settler colonialism and postcoloniality, climate change, ecological destruction, as well as what theorist Lauren Berlant describes as the crisis ordinariness of precarious life in late capitalism. We seek to attend, as well, to the unequal distributions of risk and vulnerability throughout the pandemic, including between the Global South and North.

The following panels and roundtables have been confirmed as part of the conference.


Professor Janet Roitman, Anthropology, The New School, New York. Author of Anti-Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013)







Professor Deborah Lupton,
Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her latest co-edited book is The COVID-19 crisis: Social Perspectives (Routledge, 2021)







A/Prof Katerina Teaiwa, Australian National University, Canberra. Author of Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba (Indiana University Press, 2015).







Bhiamie Williamson, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Australian National University, Canberra







Dr América Molina del Villar 

Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico. Historian researching disasters, epidemics, and subsistence crises in Mexico in the XVIII and XX centuries.








1. The politics of life after COVID: bioethical, biolegal, and biopolitical perspectives
Panel organisers: Chris Mayes, Miguel Vatter, Maurizio Meloni

2. Truth-telling in unprecedented times
Panel organisers: Cathy Legg, John Powers, Luke Heemsbergen

3. Ethical challenges in a post-COVID world
Panel organisers: Petra Brown, Emma Tumilty

4. Making place after crisis
Panel organiser: Victoria Stead, Cameo Dalley

5. (Re-)connecting Academia During a Sudden, Global Crisis
Panel organiser: Karen Kastenhofer

6. Understanding care in migrants’ digitised lifeworlds during unsettling times
Panel organiser: Earvin Charles Cabalquinto

7. Care (Thematic Stream)
Panel organisers: Vivian Gerrand,
Alexandra Roginski

8. Global Justice (Thematic Stream)
Panel organisers: Paula Muraca,
Vanessa Barolsky, Laura Rodriguez Castro


1. All in this together? COVID-19 recovery and impacts for communities
Panel organiser: Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (CRIS)

2. Uncertainty: The Reconfiguration of Communication, Connections and Relationships in Contemporary Culture
Roundtable organiser: P. David Marshall


Conference format and registration

The conference will be held online through the virtual conferencing program Whova. Upon registration through the button above, we will contact you with further instructions for accessing the conference.


All prices in Australian Dollars.

  • Full price
    This is inclusive of both days of the conference

  • HDR/concession*

*Concession rates are available for students or people who are unwaged or without full-time employment.

Registration waivers are available if required to facilitate participation, including for participants and attendees from the Global South. All Deakin staff and students are entitled to free registration. Please contact Arif Saba at


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