New ASAP column available

The latest ASAP newsletter column is now available. See link in the description.

Notes from the Section Leadership: ASAP in Review and Prospect
By Carol MacLennan and Paul Stubbs (ASAP Co-Presidents)
Originally: Anthropology News Online (March 6, 2019)
Temporary link is here

Provides a review of ASAP by the two incoming co-presidents.

“Our finances remain strong, and we have a healthy surplus that we will put to good use in widening ASAP’s activities and, in particular, supporting graduate students, early career scholars, and attracting those outside academia and those working in disciplines in dialogue with the anthropology of policy to come to the AAA Annual Meeting.”

“In the future, we will continue to expand the activities of ASAP and use every opportunity to reflect on the state of the art of the anthropology of policy, some twenty years after it emerged as a branch of the discipline through the pioneering edited collection by Chris Shore and Susan Wright.”

Call for papers: Techno-optimism and its social overflows

For AAA/CASCA in Vancouver

Organizers: Georgia Hartman (Pitzer College), Alex J.S. Lee (Rice University),  Liza Youngling (DePaul University)

This panel is concerned with the ways in which manifold technologies harness, obscure, and reformulate human sociality. We understand technology as both the material application of scientific knowledge and as the application of technique. Data-driven digital technologies obscure the sociality of taste, value, service, and more. Zillow’s “zestimate” for example, makes the interpretative, context-driven work of property valuation appear as an objective and calculable process. Crowd-sourced technologies such as blockchain promise to facilitate public trust in record keeping for functions heretofore in the domain of the state such as election certification and cadastral maintenance. In so doing, blockchain harnesses social interactions, reformulating them into quantifiable and objective fact. Centralized technologies of care invert this formula, reifying authentic social interactions and obscuring the standardized, programmed elements of care work so as to appear as genuine human interaction. In-flight service, for example–embodied in the customer service techniques of flight attendants, and in the space and materiality of the cabin–is carefully curated the present an “appropriately” gendered, racialized, and classed experience.

Against the backdrop of such empirically grounded and theoretically informed examples, this panel asks the following: How might technologies make use of and simultaneously transform social relationships? How do technologies add value or allow for the extraction of value? What categories of difference, such as gender, class, or geography, do technologies obscure and legitimize? Finally, how does techno-optimism quell anxieties over efficiency, transparency, authenticity, and accuracy even as it reinforces these metrics?

Please submit paper abstracts to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] by March 31.

Call for papers: Anthropology and social work

Dear all,

Ann Marie Leshkowich and I are organizing a panel for the upcoming CASCA/AAA meetings in Vancouver on new anthropological engagements with social work (see CfP below). Abstracts welcome, deadline 25 March.
Very best, also on behalf of Ann Marie, 
Anouk de Koning

Assembling Social Worlds: Anthropological Engagements with Social Work
CfP for the CASCA/AAA Annual Meeting, Vancouver, November 20-24, 2019
Conveners: Anouk de Koning (Radboud University) and Ann Marie Leshkowich (College of the Holy Cross)
This panel seeks to explore new avenues in anthropological studies of social work beyond the more usual focus on how social workers combine empowerment and governance, care and control. We propose to envisage social workers as experts who assemble social worlds and help create forms of personhood. Social work practices provide us with access points to the configuration of social worlds in locally embedded, material ways that are conversant with transnationally circulating forms of social work and therapeutic knowledge and practice. This panel invites contributions that elaborate, through concrete case studies, social work as world making, not only in the European and the US contexts in which the profession originated, but also in diverse sites around the globe.

Contributions could address the following sets of questions:

  • How do social workers conceive of the social world on which they act, and how do they understand their ability to act on it?
  • How do social workers help create conceptions of personhood? On what kinds of understanding of individuals and society do these conceptions of personhood draw?
  • What technologies, including documentation and infrastructure, do social workers use to create and enact these social worlds and forms of personhood?
  • What do we gain from an understanding of social work as affective labor, for instance in terms of the classed and gendered nature of social work, or in the kinds of relations it creates in and through its practices?
  • What kinds of ethics of care and responsibility infuse social work, and how do these relate to the power dynamics that are often central to the governmental tasks of social work? 
  • How can we understand the globalization of social work, including concurrent politics of knowledge related to indigenizing social work?

Please send abstracts of proposed contributions to [email protected] and [email protected] by March 25 2019, at the latest. 

Anouk de Koning | Department of Anthropology and Development Studies | Radboud University, Nijmegen
Spinoza Building, SPA 04.18 | +31 24 361 6277 |
PI Reproducing Europe project ­| Chair of the Dutch Anthropological Association (Antropologen Beroepsvereniging)

Call for papers: Migrant health

AAA 2019: Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice/Changer d’air: Lutte, collaboration et justice

Panel Proposal: Precarious Policies: Migrant Health in Times of Crisis and Rising Xenophobia

Organizers: MPAAC Public Policy & Association for the Anthropology of Policy

The global rise in illiberal migration policies and xenophobic rhetoric has brought about significant public policy, humanitarian, and human rights challenges. Yet, conceptual and methodological gaps continue to exist in the study of the policyscapes of migrant health. This has limited analysis of how migration processes create differential risks for migrants at different stages of mobility and settlement and intersecting inequalities, resulting in exclusionary policies and institutional responses.

As debates on global health governance and global migration expand and begin to converge in different policy spheres, there is a growing imperative for anthropologists to engage in dialogue to align priorities and coordinate responses to migration across regions. Anthropological work that addresses the complexities of circular migration and migrants’ vulnerabilities and agency have the potential to move policy dialogues on migration and health beyond narrow public health interventions and protectionist policies.

This co-sponsored roundtable creates a platform for those engaged in migration and health scholarship and policy responses to share insights from both global North/South. We hope to draw on the collective experiences of prior and ongoing research projects, networks, and collaborations to examine what is known about migrant health and care, and policy discussions on health and social protections. The roundtable represents an opportunity to develop research capacities, amplify methodological and empirical understandings, and engender scholarship and policy around migration, mobility, and health.

We welcome contributions focused on health and social care of migrants within policy dialogues on migration around one or more of the following questions:

(1)  What do we understand and know about migration and health and what crucial gaps remain global/regional/national migration and health research? How can research link with policy makers/policy community and communities of practice?

(2)  What political and ethical questions does researching migrants raise for anthropologists, advocates, and policy makers?

(3)  What methodological and conceptual interventions are/will be required to chart migration and health policyscapes?

(4)  How have engagements with policy moved beyond scholarship to critically engage in migration and health advocacy work through active participation in community and grassroot coalitions, local and national health and immigration initiatives, and interdisciplinary collaborations within and beyond the academy to curb repression and prevent the systematic targeting of particular marginalized groups?

(5)  How does migration and health advocacy and activism underscore incipient political, economic, and cultural dynamics that may prove influential for future generations of anthropologists involved with policy?

(6)  How have anthropologists and non-anthropologists engaged with the visions and the values promoted in future-oriented migration and health policies in their research and advocacy work- conceptually, empirically, practically?

If you are interested in participating in the round table, please contact Thurka Sangaramoorthy- [email protected] and Katherine Lambert-Pennington [email protected].


ASAP monthly update: March 2019

ASAP Monthly Update for March 2019
Look out for the forthcoming Anthropology News column, “Note from Section Leadership: ASAP in Review and Prospect” authored by Carol MacLennan and Paul Stubbs.

Submissions for the 2019 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, “Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice” are now being accepted. Does your proposed paper, panel, or roundtable touch on issues of policy? Consider submitting your proposal for sponsorship by the Association for the Anthropology of Policy. We are also happy to circulate CFPs dealing with policy (defined broadly) via the ASAP listserv. Note that the submission deadlines are a bit different this year. All proposals must be started on the online portal by April 5 and must be finalized and submitted by April 10. 

As always you can find us . . .
. . . on the web at 
    . . . on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @anthofpolicy

Key contacts
– Eric Cheng for the listserv at: [email protected] or
 [email protected]
– David Haines for the web at: [email protected]
– Georgia Hartman for Instagram/Facebook/Twitter at: [email protected]
– Ted Powers for ASAP columns in AN at: [email protected]

ASAP monthly update: February 2019

The Association for the Anthropology of Policy is recruiting candidates to serve a 2-year term as Graduate Student Representative. As a member of the ASAP Executive Committee, the GSR represents the concerns and interests of graduate students. This includes (among other things) developing mentoring activities at the annual meeting of the AAA. If you are interested in the position, please contact David Haines [email protected] and Cris Shore [email protected]. (Nominations closed as of February 6, 2019)

The theme for the 2019 annual meeting of the AAA in Vancouver is “Changing Climate.” ASAP seeks to sponsor sessions that deal with policy from an anthropological perspective. These might be panels that examine the work of international NGOs, the legalization of marijuana and other drug policies, global health care policies and their effects, housing policy, immigration, the environment, or any number of issues that consider the work of policy and how it travels across space and time. We welcome any ideas or questions. If you are interested in working with ASAP on a sponsored (or invited panel), please email Bill Beeman at [email protected] and Christina Garsten at christina[email protected].

If you aren’t already following us, we encourage you to join the conversation at our cross-platform handle @anthofpolicy.

As always you can find us . . .
. . . on the web at
. . . on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @anthofpolicy

Key contacts
– Eric Cheng for the listserv at: [email protected] or [email protected]
– David Haines for the web at: [email protected]
– Georgia Hartman for Instagram/Facebook/Twitter at: [email protected]
– Ted Powers for ASAP columns in AN at: [email protected]

Book announcement: Children and humanitarian interventions

Dear All (apologies for cross-posting), 
We are proud to announce that our forthcoming volume 
is now available for pre-order from Palgrave as part of their Children and Development series. 
Co-edited by me and Aviva Sinervo (SFSU), containing chapters from up-and-coming childhood and development studies scholars, and covering most regions of the world, the volume critically considers how transnational charitable industries are created and mobilized around childhood need by exploring how humanitarian interventions for children in difficult circumstances engage in affective commodification and objectification of disadvantaged childhoods. We argue that though these processes can help achieve the goals of donors and aid organizations, they can also perpetuate the conditions that organizations seek to alleviatethereby endangering the very children they intend to help.
Please find a flyer with a 20% discount code attached to this email. Discount good until Dec 12th. You can also reserve an online book review copy here.

Kristen Cheney, PhD.
Associate Professor, Children & Youth Studies
International Institute of Social Studies
The Hague, Netherlands

Mentoring workshop at AAA in San Jose

Mentoring Workshop on Academic Precarity

Association for Anthropology of Policy (ASAP)
Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE)

Thursday, November 15, 4:15-6:00 p.m.

Looking for strategies to deal with increased academic precarity?  Join us to discuss planning for academic futures, dealing with temporary employment, and strategies for maintaining an intellectually vital life. Karen Kelsky (The Professor is In) and Shirley Fiske (U Maryland) will discuss ways to approach academic precarity within academe and outside.

This mentoring session, jointly organized by ASAP and CAE, will speak to a variety of ways to confront precarity and include roundtable breakout strategy sessions. The speaker and roundtable topics may include:  negotiating with hiring institutions; organizing labor; advocacy; using anthropology in other work environments; strategies for moving beyond precarity; and thinking beyond the academy. This mentoring session is designed to provide a hands-on approach to scholars who find themselves in positions of academic precarity and to graduate students who face a restricted job market marked by the growth of contingent labor.

When:  Thursday, 4:15 – 6:00 p.m., November 15
Where:  Fairmont Hotel, California Room
Speakers –  Shirley Fiske and Karen Kelsky
Convener – Cris Shore (U Auckland); Wrap-Up
Round tables:
Karen Kelsky (work outside academe),
Shirley Fiske (strategies for applied anthropology),
Carol MacLennan (what unions can do)

ASAP monthly update: November 2018

Coming up in San Jose

Ted Powers has a column in Anthropology News that provides a preview of ASAP sessions in San Jose: “Situating Policy in an Unsettled World at the 2018 Annual Meeting.” The link to it is:

Georgia Hartman will be running short Instagram posts–echoed through Facebook and Twitter–on the sessions, including updated room numbers when they are needed because of AAA shifts from the Marriott to the Convention Center. If you are not already following, remember that ASAP is @anthofpolicy on all three of those media.

The ASAP business meeting is from 7:45 to 9:15 on Friday, November 16.. The location has been moved from the Marriott to the Convention Center in the  Willow Glenn Room. Cash bar and free food. This is a transition year with Carol MacLennan and Paul Stubbs coming is as Co-Presidents, and Bill Beeman and Christina Garsten coming in as Co-Presidents Elect. Georgia Hartman is also taking over as Communication Director. So the meeting will be a good chance to discuss the future.

Minutes and other information from the last business meeting in 2017 are available on our web site at under the “Resources” tab. The direct link is:

As always you can find us . . .

. . . on the web at
. . . on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @anthofpolicy

Key contacts
– Eric Cheng for the listserv at: [email protected] or [email protected]
– David Haines for the web at: [email protected]
– Georgia Hartman for Instagram at: [email protected]
– Judi Pajo and Ted Powers for ASAP columns in AN at: [email protected] and [email protected]
– Jason Scott for Facebook and Twitter at: [email protected]
– Paul Stubbs for the ASAP program at the 2018 AAA in San Jose: [email protected]

ASAP monthly update: October 2018

Recent Session: The Anthropology of Policy at 25 Years

In August, Cris Shore and Sue Wright hosted a session for ASAP at the 15th biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, held in Stockholm, Sweden. This was a symbolically important event as it was twenty-five years ago that the project for an “Anthropology of Policy” was first initiated at EASA conferences held in Prague and Oslo. At that time, neoliberal experiments in the reinvention of government through structural adjustment programs, New Public Management reforms, and the “governance” turn were at their height in many countries, including Britain, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States. In the decades that followed, the rationalities that drove those processes have mutated, diversified, and spread rapidly, bringing major changes to the global economy and local societies. Titled “Policy mobility in a Globalised World: How Ideas and Practices of Governance and Management Travel, Settle and Colonise New Domains,” the panel examined how policy ideas and practices travel, how they get taken up, adapted, and applied to new contexts, and the new kinds of social relations, subjectivities, and cultural practices this process creates.

The eight papers in the Stockholm panel generated lively discussion of these themes. Tess Lea (Sydney) developed the evocative notion of “policy hauntology” as a way to think about the troubled legacies of indigenous policy in settler colonial Australia. Jens Adam (Humboldt Universität, Berlin) examined the various actors and assemblages around a failed tramway project in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, and the lessons of that failure for infrastructural projects. Reflecting on the uses of actor-network theory, Alexandra Oanca (Universidade do Vale do Taquari, Brazil) gave a thoughtful assessment of the value and limitations of assemblage theory for the anthropology of policy. Also using an assemblage approach, Jérémie Forney (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerlan) presented results from an international research project on environmental governance in the context of agriculture and food, with case studies from Switzerland, New Zealand, the UK, and at the EU. From a very different perspective, Jie Gao (Aarhus) combined Lacanian theory and critical discourse analysis to interrogate the “fantasmatic” logic behind China’s Ministry of Education and its policies for promoting Sino-Foreign partnerships as an instrument of soft power. “How do human rights policies travel?” was the question addressed by Miia Halme-Tuomisaari (Helsinki). Her analysis of NGO reports and UN Human Rights Committee meetings in Geneva invites us to rethink the idea of “universalising” human rights and what that term means empirically. Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins (Aberystwyth, Wales) explored what happens when EU policies to promote cohesion collide with nationalist ideas about devolution for Wales within the United Kingdom. Finally, the paper by Cris Shore (Auckland) and Sue Wright (Aarhus) explored how performance indicators and national rankings have become a populist project yet one that can easily slide into new forms of authoritarian management, as is illustrated by the spread of Private Finance Initiatives and the rise of Academy Schools in the UK.

Overall, these papers highlighted the rich range of topics and diverse theoretical approaches currently being developed within the anthropology of policy — still a new field but, at twenty-five years, now an established one.

Coming up

More information will be coming up on the AAA meetings in San Jose. But note especially that:

1. The ASAP business meeting will be on Friday,  from 7:45 – 9:15 in the evening. The time was not of our choosing. But we took the opportunity to try something new for ASAP: a cash bar and — by golly — free food courtesy of a little bit of ASAP money and some anonymous donations from the ASAP executive committee.

2. Cansu Civelek, our grad student representative on the exec. committee is organizing our usual mentoring session pairing grad students and younger scholars for small group discussion. If you are interested, see her call on our web site. The direct link is

As always you can find us . . .

. . . on the web at
. . . on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @anthofpolicy

Key contacts
– Eric Cheng for the listserv at: [email protected] or [email protected]
– David Haines for the web at: [email protected]
– Georgia Hartman for Instagram at: [email protected]
– Judi Pajo and Ted Powers for ASAP columns in AN at: [email protected] and [email protected]
– Jason Scott for Facebook and Twitter at: [email protected]
– Paul Stubbs for the ASAP program at the 2018 AAA in San Jose: [email protected]