Call for papers (EASA): Anthropologies of the state

Anthropologies of the State: Critical Interventions, New Directions

Roundtable for EASA 2018, 14-17 August, Stockholm

Steffen Jensen (Aalborg University, Copenhagen)
Morten Koch Andersen (Dignity Institute, Denmark)
Anouk de Koning (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

This roundtable aims to explore future directions in the anthropology of the state. What new directions are emergent and what interventions are necessary in anthropological engagements with the state?
Over the past decades, anthropology has offered its ethnographically informed perspective on the state. It has questioned the nature and effects of the State Idea and sovereignty, examining how individuals and institutions come to stand in for that entity and with what effects. Anthropologists have also examined the state’s disciplinary operation and the way subject populations have engaged with such disciplinary mechanisms. While the state has often appeared as inherently repressive, recently, several anthropologists have called for an understanding of policy practice and bureaucracy in terms of the state’s utopian aspirations to produce the public good, and have drawn attention to the moral and affective dimensions of people’s engagement with the state. Yet other anthropologists have examined governmental assemblages that include a range of actors, from active citizens to corporations, and have asked what forms of citizenship emerge as a result. And how does mobility impact various forms of statecraft? What relations do states develop with populations in flux?
This roundtable invites scholars to reflect on the state of the art in anthropological engagements with the state. What kind of cases and foci have been central to that state of the art, and which have been absent? What kind of interventions may help push the field further?

You can propose a contribution to this roundtable through the EASA website by April 9 at the latest (see link below). Since this is a roundtable, we are looking for proposals for interventions, rather than full ethnographic papers. Each speaker will have some time to introduce their intervention, but most of the session will be reserved for discussion. Participation in an EASA roundtable counts as taking up a discussant role, and can be done alongside a paper presentation.

Anouk de Koning | Department of Anthropology and Development Studies | Radboud University, Nijmegen
Thomas van Aquinostraat 8.03.01 | +31 24 361 6277 |

PI Reproducing Europe project ­| Chair of the Dutch Anthropological Association (Antropologen Beroepsvereniging)

Call for papers (ASA-UK): Humanitarian imagination

The Humanitarian Imagination: Socialities and Materialities of Voluntarism

Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth Conference, Oxford Brookes 18-21 September

Dear colleagues,

We invite submissions to the panel “The Humanitarian Imagination: Socialities and Materialities of Voluntarism” for the ASA Conference in Oxford, 18-21 September.


Our panel aims to interrogate the ways in which volunteers imagine and engage with “others” through activities that involve relational processes and acts of self-making. The papers in this session will explore the role of the humanitarian imagination in animating and informing socialities and materialities of voluntarism.


Volunteers are increasingly engaged in practices of gifting, service provision, material aid, and activism in relation to various “others”: refugees; immigrants; poor; homeless, but also with animals, and in the non-human and environmental realms. The session explores the ways in which humanitarian imaginations animate and inform forms of sociality and materiality. How do volunteers imagine themselves and others in humanitarian encounters? What political, moral, affective and ethical imaginaries accompany their motivations and experiences? In what ways do these imaginaries impact upon the material and social dimensions of voluntarism? What is the material form that aid acquires, and what are the relationships formed? Such questions can be directed at relationships between volunteers, between volunteers and those they seek to support and with material aid itself.

We are interested in the collective subjects that emerge through humanitarian imaginations. Historical studies underline how humanitarianism is interrelated to the emergence of humanity as a collective subject and a shared identity. What other collective subjects emerge in forms of sociality pertaining to humanitarianism today?

Through exploring the role of the humanitarian imagination in shaping volunteer encounters and experiences, we also seek to open up a space to consider the power of imaginative practice as a form of “imaginative politics” (Malkki 2015) that produces certain effects. We are hence particularly interested in papers that focus on the power dynamics of the humanitarian encounter, and that consider the potential of this encounter for social and political change.

Our section is Pol08. To submit your paper, please follow this link.

We look forward to receiving thought-provoking and interesting papers!

Call for papers (AAA): Medical humanitarianism

Medical humanitarianism, human rights, and the suffering body

Despite their differences in goal, scale and mode of engagement, humanitarian and human rights practices often coalesce around the figure of the suffering body (Moyn, 2012). The centrality of the suffering body in humanitarianism and human rights activism has given the medical profession a privileged role in both attempts to save lives and alleviate suffering in times of crisis or emergency and processes of claims-making and justice-seeking (Abramowitz & Panter-Brick 2015; Ticktin, 2014).

Recent anthropological critiques of the use of the “suffering” as an analytical category (Robbins, 2013) and of the privileging of biological existence and processes (Das & Han, 2015) have important repercussions for a critical and ethnographically informed analysis of the role of medicine in humanitarian and human rights practices. These critiques point out the risks of reproducing the duality between regimes of care and regimes of recognition, or between biological wellbeing and political rights when exploring experiences of illness, care, healing and so on (Garcia, 2010; Stevenson, 2014).

This panel will focus on humanitarian or human rights “intervention” into the suffering biological body without reproducing the duality between alleviation of pain and realization of legal and political rights. We seek papers that will speak to these broad themes from a variety of ethnographic/topical areas. Some of the questions we are seeking answers to are:

·  How can we think about humanitarian or human rights “intervention” to end suffering without approaching the “object of care” either as a patient or a citizen?
·  What are the limitations of human rights and humanitarian practices in terms of people’s healing experiences in the aftermath of violence, conflict, war, famine and so on?
·  What kinds of affective worlds, political and ethical engagements are created in sites where the expert volunteers, victims of domestic or political violence and workers of humanitarian and human rights organizations have locally and historically shaped intimacies and hostilities?
·  What kind of new concepts can we draw from ethnographic work (Da Col & Graeber, 2011) on human rights and humanitarian practice that move beyond (but including) sovereignty, biopolitics, biosecurity and so on?

Call for Abstracts

We invite interested panelists to submit a paper title, abstract (250 words max), current affiliation and contact info to Salih Can Aciksoz ([email protected]) and Basak Can ([email protected]) by April 1, 2018. Decisions about acceptance of abstracts for these panels will be emailed by April 3, 2018.

Abramowitz, S. A., & Panter-Brick, C. (2015). Medical humanitarianism: ethnographies of practice. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Da Col, G., & Graeber, D. (2011). Foreword: The return of ethnographic theory. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 1(1), vi–xxxv.

Das, V., & Han, C. (2015). Living and dying in the contemporary world: a compendium. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Garcia, A. (2010). The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Moyn, S. (2012). Substance, Scale, and Salience: The Recent Historiography of Human Rights. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 8(1), 123–140.

Robbins, J. (2013). Beyond the suffering subject: toward an anthropology of the good. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 19(3), 447–462.

Stevenson, L. (2014). Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Ticktin, M. (2014). Transnational Humanitarianism. Annual Review of Anthropology, 43(1), 273–289.

Call for papers (AAA): Digital infrastructures

Digital Infrastructures: Poetics, Politics and Personhood – AAA San Jose 14-18 November 2018
Lorraine Weekes (Stanford University)
Gertjan Plets (Utrecht University)

Government databases, digital archives, online voting systems, and e-portals enabling the submission of everything from insurance claims to income tax returns increasingly define mundane engagements between citizen-users and a suite of public and private institutions across social arenas. Because of efficiency and transparency digital technologies are seen as affording, reliance on digital infrastructures has become widely supported on the ground. At the same time, sociopolitical structures and assumptions encoded in many of these infrastructures—and the entanglements they produce—have received little attention. The tendency of infrastructure to remain invisible until something goes wrong is perhaps especially acute in digital and high-tech contexts where the scale, technological complexity, and physical diffusion encourages black boxing. By putting the politics and poetics of digital infrastructure into the limelight, this panel will consider the historical and ethnographic dimensions of digital infrastructures and how they produce individual subjectivities, mediate power relationships and further existing reifications of the social across the globe. By bringing the theoretical insights of the burgeoning anthropology of infrastructure and bureaucracy to bear on the digital networks and assemblages, the papers in this panel endeavor to make the materiality, social-embeddedness, and historical contingency of digital infrastructure visible. 

Please submit an abstract before April 2 or send enquiries to [email protected] 

Dr. Gertjan Plets 
Assistant Professor Cultural Heritage (UD) 
Department of History and Art History 
Utrecht University 

ASAP monthly update: March 2018

Notable recently

The annual review of ASAP activities by the co-presidents has just been published in Anthropology News online. The link is
Cris and David review what ASAP has been doing and how it has been growing as an AAA section, but also conclude that:

. . . we are also thinking beyond the AAA. Our aim is to stimulate broader dialogue between anthropology and other disciplines including political science, sociology, organizational studies, and law, as well as between the academic world and that of government officials and policy professionals. The makings, workings, and effects of public policy continue to be central to how the world works—and how it must work better in the future. These are just some of the reasons why policy is, and will continue to be, a key field for anthropological research, analysis, and practice.

Coming up

ASAP has now issued the call for submissions for our annual graduate student paper prize. The deadline is June 15, 2018, and the details are on the ASAP web site at

To complement the just-published annual review by the co-presidents, there will be a longer review of ASAP sessions at the Washington, D.C. published in Anthropology News within the next few weeks. It is written by the ASAP co-presidents-elect, Carol MacLennan and Paul Stubbs.

Remember that the listserv and web are available to announce potential sessions for the AAA meeting in San Jose, or for any other conferences that may be relevant to the anthropology of policy. Send those to Eric Cheng, the listserv coordinator, at [email protected]. These calls for papers are also posted on the website at if you want to review them. At the moment, we have calls there for EASA and IUAES as well as for the AAA.

A previous call for essays on migration and immigration by the Committee on Refugees and Immigrants is still open. This is a useful short format essay that is intended to make anthropological findings and perspectives more accessible to non-specialists. It is, however, a fully refereed process. See the call at

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

Call for papers (AAA): Dismantling of policies and institutions

Panel Title: “Things Fall Apart: Navigating the Dismantling of Policies and Government Institutions”
In recent years there have been drastic changes in both formal and informal government policies and practices worldwide. In the specific context of the U.S., the elimination and shifts in laws and regulations have greatly impacted issues affecting climate change, immigrants, healthcare, environmental issues, the nation’s involvement with international organizations and agreements. These sweeping changes are likely to have long lasting effects, both domestically and internationally, adding to the need for an anthropological examination of the removal and alterations of established policies and practices. The current trend in the breakdown and reconstruction of government policies is not limited to the United States. Increased xenophobia has led to the rise of populist sentiment in Europe, resulting in restrictions on immigration and adaptations in the ways in which states manage border control. For example, the fear of migrants from Africa entering Europe contributed to European Union (EU) policies on “border control” in the Mediterranean Sea. Prior operations that focused on the search and rescue of migrants at sea have been dismantled, creating new systems that focus on preventing migrants entering Europe. Additionally, the effects of the vote for the British exit from the EU have yet to be determined; however, this drastic change in policy will likely have profound effects on populations throughout Europe. In some geopolitical regions, the absence of a centralized government has led to the deterioration of migration policies, resulting in the increase of armed militias that “regulate” migration and lead to human rights abuses on migrants in transit. In this respect, failed states such as Libya and Syria provide a specific geopolitical context for the examination of how the collapse of state and local governments affect complex issues such as migration. This panel will contribute to the anthropological scholarship on policy and government by examining instances where policy is deconstructed or ceases to exist. 
Reflecting on the theme of “Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation,” this panel seeks to examine how the dismantling of policies and collapse of institutions affects local populations’ abilities to resist or adapt to political change. This panel examines a wide range topics focused on the response to the deterioration of local, national, and international policies and government institutions. We invite proposals that consider these topics from a variety of angles to provide a broad understanding of how the unraveling of established policies and institutions impact local populations and how they navigate these changes. 
Questions to be considered include: 
How do people respond when there is a dismantling of policy? What are the effects of “failed states” and the deterioration of government institutions on local populations? What can anthropologists do when policies and centralized governments deteriorate? How are resistance movements in the U.S. and elsewhere responding to radical right-wing policies and legislation? What are the effects of xenophobic laws and discourses on migrants’ lived experiences?  How does the collapse of government institutions impact migration? How do changes in health care policy impact public health in the U.S.? In what ways do people adapt or resist such changes in policy and government institutions? 
Call for Abstracts:
Scholars and practitioners are encouraged to submit abstracts concerning these issues from a variety of areas of focus. Please email abstracts of up to 250 words by March 25, 2018 to Russell Manzano- [email protected]. Those who submit an abstract will be notified about acceptance to the panel by March 30, 2018.

Call for papers: CALA in Cambodia

Following continuous requests for a Second Call, the CALA, The Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology, to be held in Siem Reap Cambodia, January 23-26, 2019, is now extremely pleased to announce its Second and Final Call.
The call opened on February 15th, 2018. Please view the attached documents for all information. Despite that the call has been given a deadline, it may close early, should a ceiling be placed on the submission numbers, as we have already received an abundance of submissions, over 400 in the first call. Please also find attached the SECOND and FINAL Call for Papers for the CALA 2019, which we ask you to distribute among your networks.

Aligning with extensive requests for an Asian specific focus on Linguistic Anthropology, and related fields, The CALA will bring together
  • Linguists
  • Anthropologists
  • Linguistic and Cultural Anthropologists
  • Culturologists
  • Sociologists
  • Political Scientists
  • Those in the Arts
  • other related fields

pertinent to Asia.

The CALA, housing a large body of globally prominent academics in its Scientific Committee, is proud to inform that the American Anthropological Association fully endorses the CALA as its affiliate, as do many academic institutions globally.
The Website is at, and at
The first of several videos, by the Vice Chair, Dr. Susan Hagadorn, is at
The second of several videos, by the Chair, Dr. Sam-Ang Sam, is at
For additional videos, please visit our channel at:
We advise that several Special Journal issues are planned, as well as a collection of Monographs, from papers submitted to the CALA, and that meet the requirements of submission, review and acceptance. The papers selected will all be published with Top-Tier Ranking journals, and their Publishers. Here, ample assistance will be provided so to revise these manuscripts for publication.
We thus invite you to the CALA 2019, the annual academic conference that, together with your assistance, seeks to redefine aspects of Asian Language and Society.
Thanking you,

Ms Nhan Huynh


Professor Dr. Sam-Ang Sam

Coordinating Committee
(Chancellor of The Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia)
Professor Dr. Susan Hagadorn
Coordinating Committee
(Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Letters, and Humanities, Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia)
The CALA 2019The Annual Conference on Asian Linguistic Anthropology
Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

The COMELA, The Annual Conference on Mediterranean Linguistic Anthropology


Call for papers (AAA): Unrecognized states

States of Imagination: Policy and Experience in Unrecognized States (AAA 2018)

Unrecognized states dot a globe that is imagined in terms of bounded states. Some unrecognized states came into being after unilaterally declaring independence, others exist as nation-states in the imaginations of their members. Some of these entities meet recognized criteria for statehood, such as Weber’s definition centering on the monopoly of legitimate violence or the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States, one of the most widely accepted formulation of the criteria of statehood in international law. It notes that the state as an international person should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with other states.  Where unrecognized states are ruled out of play in the global game is often on the final point—they cannot enter into relations with other states because the policies of those states do not imagine them to be states. Such cases include Somaliland, North Cyprus, and Taiwan.

Anthropology’s changing conceptualizations, or imaginings we might say, of culture have also played a role in the recognition or rights of states.  The right to self-determination in many international conventions is based on an earlier primordial model that anthropologists themselves no longer employ. Few scholarly studies have been conducted regarding the socio-political implications of non-recognition: how and why unrecognized states adopt policies and evolve the way they do.

With this session we aim to explore the dynamics of policymaking and evolution—political, social and cultural—in unrecognized states, dynamics of international policy which prevents their recognition, and what roles anthropology has or can play in the recognition of states, the rights of their citizens, and documenting the impact of non-recognition.

We welcome articles from both scholars and practitioners whose work pertains to unrecognized states, including theoretical work regarding the definition of such entities. Interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Defining unrecognized states:

·       The evolution of socio-political and cultural identities under non-recognition;

·       The impact of non-recognition on the development of unrecognized states and/or the conflicts where they are involved;

·       The interplay between culture and state recognition;

·       Evaluation of the statehood capacity of unrecognized states and their potential for earning diplomatic recognition;

·       How unrecognized states have been able to build functioning state institutions and in some cases, democracies;

·       How non-recognition impacts lives.

Co-organizers: Hilmi Ulas (The American University of Cyprus) and Diane O’Rourke (Victoria University of Wellington).  Please send expressions of interest to [email protected] .

Dr. Diane O’Rourke
Anthropology Program
School of Social & Cultural Studies
Victoria University
PO Box 600
Wellington 6140
[email protected]

Call for papers (IUAES): Statelessness

The open panel (OP164) on Statelessness at the IUAES conference in Brazil is still accepting paper abstracts. Your paper proposals must be submitted on line at the IUAES site by 25 March, but please send expressions of interest to Greg Acciaioli ([email protected]) or Diane O’Rourke. ([email protected]).

Panel abstract:

With over 10 million stateless people according to the UNHCR, statelessness has assumed heightened urgency with the intensified flows of refugees in recent years. Parties to the 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness are concentrated in only certain regions of the world and conspicuously absent in Asia. As exemplified by policies in such states as Myanmar, contemporary state actions are exacerbating rather than mitigating the global dilemmas of statelessness.

This panel evaluates how anthropology as a discipline and anthropologists as engaged actors can contribute to analyzing and ameliorating the condition of statelessness. The panel invites contributions that address any of the contemporary and historical dimensions of statelessness from anthropological perspectives. These might include consideration of such aspects as the drivers – economic, political, legal, social, cultural – causing statelessness, experiences of statelessness and the agency of the stateless in coping strategies, impacts upon livelihood possibilities, case studies of interventions that can reduce vulnerability, and others. We are particularly interested in analyses that relate statelessness to the transformations of the state and their implications for anthropological theories of the state. This panel is co-sponsored by the World Council of Anthropological Associations as part of its initiative focusing upon Mobilities and Immobilities and by the IUAES Commission on Theoretical Anthropology.

For more information, please visit:

Questions or comments on this post to Diane O’Rourke ([email protected]).

Call for papers (AAA): Immigration and mental health

Panel Proposal: Immigration and Mental Health in the Age of Trump

Organizers: Megan Carney (Assistant Professor, University of Arizona) & Thurka Sangaramoorthy (Assistant Professor, University of Maryland)

The rhetoric around Trump’s presidency overlaps with and mimics much of the language that has been historically employed to exclude or deem immigrants unworthy of formal belonging, especially in the United States. Incendiary words and phrases grounded in the notions of “unfit” and “undesirable” that we often associate with poor physical or mental health status of individuals, communities, and entire societies are reminiscent of the language used by nativists and racists in the early 20th century against Eastern and Southern Europeans and Asians.

Accusations of mental instability waged at both the current U.S. presidential administration (e.g., “deranged dotard,” “unfit for office,” “crazy,” “malignant narcissist”) and large segments of the population that it governs (e.g., “savage sicko,” “dangerous,” “wacko,” “unstable”) have engendered moral and material effects about the ways which we collectively perceive and address mental health. Such vernacular highlight broader social concerns about the pervasiveness of negative connotations related to an individual or group’s out-of-the-ordinary behavior or mental state. These modes of expression perpetuate the social stigma that people with mental illness are inferior and unworthy of care and compassion.

Concomitantly, the policies enacted and proposed by this current administration have translated to very real mental distress within the population at large, and especially among individuals with precarious legal status or those who may be targeted by detention and deportation (i.e., immigrants and refugees with temporary legal status, individuals with DACA, unauthorized immigrants, and immigrants from one of the banned countries). In this panel, we seek to explore how this psychosocial distress might be silenced or overlooked given the everyday abstractions of U.S. national politics, the normalization of mental illness as it may undergird the current American political landscape, the medicalization of social response (i.e., anger, anxiety, frustration), and the concurrent sense of immobilization among many.

Please send abstracts (max 250 words) to both Thurka Sangaramoorthy ([email protected]) and Megan Carney ([email protected]) by March 15th.

2018 AAA Annual Meeting information: