Accepted Paper:

Ruination and Restoration: pilgrimage sites as traces of conflictual temporalities  
Evgenia Mesaritou (University of Cyprus)

Paper short abstract:

The paper sees how places become traces of various temporalities and concerns that afford diverse forms of action, the implications of restoring traces of conflict in conditions of division, and how anthropology may trace histories of violence without destroying the social relationships it depicts.

Paper long abstract:

Ruins are not solely produced through motivated acts of destruction but can register various modalities of violence, ruination and agency, including (deliberate) neglect or lack of care. They may therefore become indexes of wider issues raised by conflict, but also sources of affect (Navaro-Yashin 2009). Combining work on ruins (Pétursdóttir and Olsen 2014) with discussions of heritage and conflict (Sorensen and Viejo Rose 2015), this paper examines a Christian-Orthodox monastery which is visited by Greek-Cypriots (G/C) and, to a lesser extent, by Turkish-Cypriots (T/C). A popular pilgrimage destination before being rendered largely inaccessible to the G/C after the island's division (1974), the monastery was reinstated when the opening of the checkpoints allowed the G/C and the T/C, respectively residing in the south and north, to cross the dividing line. Following years of concerns over the monastery's decaying state, restoration began in 2014 with the involvement of both communities. This paper will look at concerns that were articulated over the monastery's ruination, the public debate that ensued over past restoration plans and the current, ongoing restoration, to explore: (a) how places, in their various states of ruination or restoration, may become traces of different temporalities and concerns which can afford different forms of action, and (b) the socio-political, cultural and affective implications of the heritagization and restoration of traces of conflict in conditions of ongoing division. The paper will also ask how anthropologists might trace the histories of violence that accumulate in material remains without destroying the social relationships they depict.

Panel P044
Revealing Histories of Violence: The Representational Politics of Trace