Update on AAA annual meeting

Dear ASAP Colleagues,

The deadline for submitting your 2017 AAA Session Proposals is coming up – Friday, April 14.

We are seeing good calls for proposals listed here.  We encourage you to consider ASAP as a reviewing section for the DC meetings, themed Anthropology Matters!   This year we are also at a venue and time when policy matters.

A few things you should consider:

Invited Status: We hope to have one or two Invited Sessions this year.  If you are interested in having your roundtable or paper session be considered as “Invited,” please contact me ([email protected]) in advance to let me know of your interest and a few words about how your panel contributes to the anthropology of policy.   An invited panel or roundtable should reflect the ASAP mission and be well conceived. Submit your proposal at the regular deadline. The ASAP Program Committee will consider these sessions along with the others during the review period.  For more information see the section on invited sessions: http://www.americananthro.org/AttendEvents/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2040

Guest Registration Program:  Do you have a non-anthropologist or an international participant on your panel?  ASAP has one “guest” we can request from AAA and we (ASAP)  must apply by March 31. Registration fees and membership are paid.  See information below on who qualifies for “guest registration.” Please notify me soon if you wish to apply for one of your participants ([email protected]) and provide this information:
o   First and last name. Affiliation email address. Mailing address. Country of residence
o   Abstract for the session in which s/he will participate.  Abstract for paper.
o   A short statement about why s/he should receive the award

Submit your panels early:  AAA is working with new online submission system and review software.  I encourage you to submit your electronic proposals early to avoid the last minute potential for problems.

We look forward to reviewing your proposals.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

Carol MacLennan
ASAP 2017 Program Chair
[email protected]

Call for papers: Ethnographies of commoning

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

Urban Ethnographies of Commoning

This panel aims to bring into conversation ethnographic case studies on forms of urban living created through acts of commoning –spaces imagined and lived as urban commons, belonging to no one and everyone.

We aim to reflect upon urban inhabitants’ commoning practices that produce and reproduce life in the city for the sake of cultivating a new ethos to sustain livelihoods and affirm communal instincts beyond motivations of profit, competition, and wealth spared for individual well-being at the expense of others. We would like to explore everyday cultures of commoning that rely on alternative socio-spatial relations. It is our aim to take a close look at urban inhabitants’ quotidian practices, be they work, reproductive labor, or leisure and festivity, that make our spaces in common despite (and in the midst of) capitalist social relationships.

Everyday acts of commoning materialize within the cracks of the capitalist system and potentially create new life-forms. We treasure such practices of commoning, for they not only reveal urban inhabitants’ capacity to make the city but they also imply a radical will to remake ourselves and our lives by way of reorganizing our everyday lives, living spaces, redefining forms of production and labor, developing new means of livelihood, and in turn reminding us every day that we all inhabit a common life-world.

We would like to highlight both achievements and drawbacks. We dwell on the emancipatory potentials of commoning practices, as well as the incomplete or conflicting processes and incompatibilities they inhabit. We focus on cases of urban commoning while keeping an eye on their continuous enclosures.

What are some of the ways in which we can imagine and sustain our ongoing everyday lives as a locus of commoning? What kinds of sensibilities and perspectives (for instance a feminist perspective) can we incorporate into our understanding of urban commons?

This panel aims to discuss these questions by bringing together ethnographic case studies from different urban contexts, to discuss alternative forms of production, consumption, exchange, and sociality, all relying on practices of commoning as their major resource.

We are calling for empirically informed papers that offer refreshing perspectives on the following:

* Precarity and resistance
* Solidarity economies
* Commoning arts & culture in the city
* Commoning and law
* Commoning and affective labor in the city
* Experiences of commoning urban property
* Sustainable urban life

Please send abstracts (of 250 words) and bios (of 200 words) by April 3rd to Derya Özkan ([email protected]) and Güldem Baykal Büyüksaraç ([email protected]).

Call for papers: Measurement and markets

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

Measurement and the Making of Markets

Organizers: Stephanie Friede (Duke University) and Georgia Hartman (UC Irvine)

This panel is concerned with the processes by which new objects of speculation come into being. Standardized systems of measurement allow goods to be abstracted from the social, political, and ecological contexts in which they are situated, rendering them legible to the market. The process of measurement–performed by well trained assessors, surveyors, economists, and other experts–is never as value-free as the graphs and maps they produce seem to suggest. We maintain that acts of quantification and measurement are but one way of thinking about spaces and places. From maps of atmospheric circulation that transform wind into an exchangeable commodity to the detailed processes for calculating land and home value, this panel will explore the culturally specific, contingent, and oft contested processes by which measurement and markets work to render new spaces and objects legible to investment. Papers will confront the following questions, among others:

· What methods, measurements, and calculative technologies are used to turn goods into exchangeable commodities?
· How does measurement constitute a way of knowing and how does it in turn shape understandings of and interactions in social and ecological environments?
· What is involved in making particular measurement methods accepted practice for marketizing specific kinds of goods?
· When expert ways of knowing and quantifying become accepted practice, what other ways of knowing are silenced in that process?

Please submit a paper title and abstract of no more than 250 words by April 3, 2017 to Stephanie Friede ([email protected]) and Georgia Hartman ([email protected]). Notifications will be sent no later than April 10th.

Please title the subject of your email, “Measurement Panel Submission.” Please email with any questions.

Call for papers: Refugees, policies, governments

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

The Effects of Recent Changes in National and International Governments and Policies on Refugee Experiences in Host Countries

Contact: Russell Manzano [email protected] and Kelly Yotebieng [email protected]

Governments in Europe and the United States have recently experienced intense political upheavals. The right-leaning and populist parties have been gaining strength, and fueling nationalist and xenophobic sentiments in many segments of society. The global refugee “crisis” is at the heart of these complex dynamics. It is imperative to examine these geopolitical changes anthropologically to understand how they affect refugees’ experiences in host countries and perpetuate cycles of harm. This panel seeks to examine how international and national regime shifts influence immigration policy, and how these changes in turn shape the experiences of refugees and migrants. Additionally, we will explore the interpretation of these recent policy shifts from the perspective of countries of origin (e.g., Rwanda) and host countries (e.g., Italy), and how these often competing or contradictory perspectives further complicate the implementation of international refugee law and policies. Further, since nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) contribute to and are often vital in the process of resettlement and integration of refugees, the ways in which these groups attempt to ameliorate the economic and social suffering of refugees in host countries is critical to deepening our understanding of how larger political changes affect these on-the-ground efforts.

Building on a robust anthropological literature that examines refugee policy, this panel seeks to expand refugee and migration analysis by considering the effects of rising nationalism in the context of abrupt political changes that occurred in 2016. This panel critically examines how political events, such as the British exit from the European Union, the European response to refugees, and the 2016 United States elections, have influenced immigration and refugee policy, both nationally and internationally. The increase of nationalism and xenophobia, particularly in the Global North, often creates concepts of “deservingness” of refugees based on their country of origin, religion, and ethnicity as shown by Holmes and Castañeda (2016). Thus, we question how the public perception of deservingness categorizes individuals as either refugees in need of humanitarian aid or dangerous migrants. Likewise, we also examine how increases in the number of migrants and refugees traveling to host countries affect public opinion and immigration policy. This panel seeks to understand critical questions relating to global political events and refugees. How does political change in host or home countries affect refugees’ protection under the Geneva Convention and international law? How does the increase in nationalism affect the public sentiments towards refugees and their perceived deservingness? How do regime and policy changes affect individual refugees, as well as refugee “diasporas” in general? Our session will explore the impact of current political events on refugee policy, public perception, and refugees’ experiences in both home and host countries. This panel will allow presenters to demonstrate how anthropological research can contribute to the understanding of immigration and refugee policy, and inform policy makers and NGOs to best assist refugees.

We invite abstracts from both academic and practicing anthropologists, as well as other disciplines, for papers that ethnographically explore these questions and problems.  Please submit an abstract (250 words max.) to the panel organizers by Friday, MARCH 31, for full consideration.

Call for papers: Celtic fringe

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

Re-Examining Minority Nationalism: Renewing Anthropological
Interest in the Celtic Fringe 

While gaining increased attention in recent months, as the implications of Brexit begin to unfold, the ‘Celtic Fringe’ remains an under-studied region of Anthropological inquiry, due to a perceived Western-centricity.  Yet, the complexities of the nations that compose the Celtic Fringe, notably through the lens of nationalism and political pluralism, beg ongoing and intensive investigation.  Interestingly, the Celtic nations including Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man, as well as the uneasy fit of Northern Ireland in the preceding category, all present highly opportune and timely sites of research on any number of meaningful contemporary topics of study.  The political, social, linguistic, ideological, economic, and environmental landscapes within each of these nations, as well as considering these ‘minority nations’ as a whole relative to the more powerful and dominant national contexts in which they are situated, rival the complexity of said environments in more traditional locations of Anthropological investigation.  Accordingly, the intent of this panel is to highlight the current Anthropological research taking place in the Celtic Fringe.  We acknowledge that the term Celtic Fringe is a roughly ascribed and imprecise term, rather than completely representative or inclusively definitive of the nations referenced above.  With that said, we seek to unpack this under-studied category, and aim to include timely papers from researchers both within as well as outside the above listed nations, in order to fully harness both central Anthropological perspectives–the emic and etic, to provide highly relevant insight into this region of the world.

We are seeking papers, which align with the intent of our panel.  Please submit your proposed paper abstract by March 31, to Nory Kaplan-Kelly at [email protected] and Kimberly Berg at [email protected].
Accepted panels will be notified by April 7th, and will be expect to submit their respective abstract by April 14th.

Call for papers: After zika

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

After” Zika: Making Anthropology Matter in Zika Management and Long-Term Response
Zika has largely disappeared from the headlines, but its story has only just begun. The zika virus (ZIKV) continues to mobilize global health agendas, galvanize international scientific research, and deeply impact the lives of affected women, men, children. From late 2015 when its possible connection to microcephaly in Brazil became international news, ZIKV and its reproductive consequences have been a public health nightmare for affected countries. It has also highlighted longstanding social inequalities that expose some populations to arboviruses and their dangers more than others, such as lack of basic sanitation, inadequate living and working conditions, and differential access to healthcare. The many uncertainties surrounding the disease itself, combined with economic and political turmoil affecting the hardest hit nations, have contributed to slow and/or insufficient policy response. The virus’s spread throughout the Americas and beyond thus raises important questions for anthropology: How does the continuing threat of zika virus infection affect women’s and men’s reproductive decision-making? How is knowledge (scientific and otherwise) about emerging epidemics like zika produced, circulated, and solidified, and to what effects? In what ways are social inequalities (involving race, gender, class, geographic location, physical ability, and others) highlighted and exacerbated by zika and its reproductive consequences?

This panel will present research that proposes a continuing role for anthropological research in the long-term management of ZIKV in the Americas and beyond.

We invite submissions that address the challenges of the ongoing zika crisis, including, but not limited to:

  • Critical analyses of how the ZIKV epidemic has mobilized particular global health agendas, as well as presented challenges to global health governance;
  • The production of scientific knowledge on ZIKV and the impact of this knowledge on public policies to address the outbreak;
  • Reconfigurations of knowledge practices in science and policy evidenced by the response to zika and its effects;
  • Temporalities of disease spread, scientific research, and policy response in public health emergencies;
  • How the concept of risk is encoded in public discourse on zika and its reproductive consequences;
  • Reproductive decision-making in the face of the zika epidemic;
  • Everyday care of children affected by congenital zika syndrome;
  • Anthropology’s role in confronting zika and its aftermath.

Please send us your 250 word abstract by April 6. We will notify presenters by April 8th. Contact Lucia Guerra-Reyes at [email protected] or Eliza Williamson at [email protected]

Call for papers: Eco-Frictions

Eco-Frictions: Heritagization, Energopolitics and Fantasies of Environmental Sustainability

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
November 29-December 3, 2017; Washington D.C.
Organizers: Mara Benadusi (University of Catania) and Filippo Zerilli (University of Cagliari)

Environmental crises and related concerns have increased enormously over the past few decades, creating disturbances for human and non-human life on a planetary scale. And yet, simultaneously, this trend is matched by an explosion of attempts to transform exploited sites into zones recovering from ecological disaster by any means necessary. Characterized by multiples and often conflicting moral regimes and economic systems, these ‘friction zones’ are progressively changing under the pressure of two main phenomena: one that entails a re-evaluation of (cultural/natural) ‘heritage’ producing rhetorical, pragmatic, and political manipulations of the past; the other that features sustainable environmental renewal, promoting an alternative use of natural resources. In cases where heritage status is granted, territories become ‘consecrated’ and conflicts over local politics of history and memory are disguised by a universalistic rhetoric of ‘common good’ for global collectivities. In the latter case, instead, the dimension of environmental ‘sustainability’ assumes a central position, encouraging eco-fantasies and planetary investment in and for the future. While both processes have been carefully scrutinized by recent anthropological literature, their intersections and articulations require further ethnographic as well as theoretical exploration. Heritagization, energopolitics and fantasies of environmental sustainability expose the fractures in neo-liberal economic practice, incorporating universal moral imperatives into their own discourse: in the first case encouraging the preservation of heritage, in the second imagining the safeguarding of the planet. But how do such discourses talk one to each other in actual practice, and how can we possibly grasp their often uneven, unpredictable and multi-scalar connections?

Taking inspiration from emerging ethnographic approaches to ‘global connections’ (A. Tsing), ‘assemblages’ (A. Ong & S. Collier) and strategies of ‘studying through’ (C. Shore & S. Wright), this panel proposes to scrutinize the zones of eco-friction that are formed in these spaces of collision and intersection between global and local pressures, of past and future predicaments, of commitments to protect and commitments to renew. How do politics of the past intersect and articulate with policy and politics of/for the future in these friction-ridden spaces? What specific cultural and historical paths contribute to forging ‘zones of awkward engagement’ with the environment in different ethnographic sites? And what kinds of economic and moral relations stem from the intersection between the entangled phenomena we have mentioned?

We welcome both theoretical and ethnographic contributions, specifically focusing on areas which have been object of intense environmental exploitation and are currently experiencing new forms of discursive and material investment inspired by projects and values of environmental sustainability, heritage conservation and energy-saving.

Please submit a title and 250-word abstract by Tuesday April 4, 2017 to: Mara Benadusi: [email protected] and Filippo Zerilli: [email protected]

Call for papers: Assessing expectation and expertise

Assessing Expectation and Expertise: Approaches to a Collaborative Study of Experts

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
November 29 to December 3, 2017; Washington D.C.,
Panel Organizers: Arthur Mason (Rice University) and Stefan Leins (University of Zurich)

New spaces of market shaping phenomena offer potential sites for examining how complex social configurations are perpetually being constructed through the conjoined assemblies of circulating material entities and competent agents engaged in valuation practices. Papers in this panel offer critical appraisals of options for studying these new interactions between risk and modernization as they relate to the production and dissemination of expert forecasting and technologies, as well as institutions, discourse and visualization, and the transmission of expert knowledge. Researching experts is complicated because institutions are often subject to proprietary stakeholder relationships. Thus, we will engage in discussions about establishing protocols for data storage, sharing, and curation, building a framework to support open science and accessibility for future researchers while protecting confidentiality and security for proprietary stakeholders.

We plan to focus on the ethnographic research cycle as it relates to the organization of scientific, consultant, and financial work; the production, commodification and dissemination of expert forecasting and technologies; relationships of expertise to institutions, agenda setting, discourse and visualization; and transmission of expert knowledge, including the social life of ideas that define what counts as knowledge. For analytical purposes, we have separated these problems into four categories: (1) Assembling: data collection drawing on participant observation and apprenticeship methods with the aim of formulating an empirical characterization of internal practices of various forms of expert work; (2) Mobilizing: artefactual data collection consisting of gathering material and digital forms of expert knowledge and their deployment. Artefactual data are the end products of the internal practices of assembling, and these data represent integrated packages that capture expert activity of transforming information into knowledge purportedly exhibiting strategic value; (3) Performing: observation studies at events whereby expert work creates communities of interpretation around knowledge, placing emphasis on how different features of research and tools produced by expertise combine with real time interaction to define what counts as knowledge; (4) Curating: approaches to data management that aspire to create novel catalogues as well as forms of public attention and cross disciplinary access to the above data.

Please submit title and abstract of 250 words (max.) to [email protected] and s[email protected] by April 3, 2017.

Call for papers: States of anticipation

States of Anticipation: The Promise and Peril of Official Recognition

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
November 29-December 3, 2017; Washington. D.C.
Organizers: Vijayanka Nair (NYU) and Irina Levin (NYU)

This panel examines the lifeworlds of individuals waiting for tokens of state recognition—whether they be visas, work permits, passports, national IDs, or driver’s licenses. We ask: what are the hopes, anxieties, and rituals that shape these intervals of anticipation and the receipts, denials, or deferrals that follow? We invite papers that focus on the lives of people awaiting their new certifications of state recognition, adjusting to their recently formalized statuses, or making sense of their failure to be included. We probe how individuals imagine their positions within evolving regimes of recognition, and how they come to learn or understand what entitlements and restrictions new forms of acknowledgment engender. Scholars argue that identification and recognition are two sides of the same coin. They also emphasize that identification is often inseparable from questions of identity and morality. We therefore examine what movement between statuses comes to mean in an individual’s moral and material universe. Concomitantly, we interrogate the experience of being restricted to a lesser or informal status, or perhaps to no status at all. Lastly, we are interested in how people interact with the materiality or immateriality of tokens of recognition. What happens to older forms of identification when people acquire new ones? Do material documents continue to retain—or even gain—value in a digitalizing world? How do people with multiple passports or state IDs value or weigh IDs against each other? We are particularly keen on examining the lives of people caught between multiple state identification systems, both in intra- and inter-national contexts. Scholars of citizenship have highlighted the constitutive role identification papers can play in belonging, the impact of states’ withholding such recognition, and the growth of markets in “fake” documents. We build on these foundations to further interrogate how tokens of recognition shape individual lives: the weariness and jubilation that come with receiving recognition, the ways in which people assess their places in new communities, the manners in which the state comes to circumscribe everyday life.

Please send an abstract (250 words or less) by April 3:

Irina Levin, [email protected]

Vijayanka Nair, [email protected]

Call for papers: Times and temporalities

Policy Times and the Temporalities of Policy

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
November 29 – December 3; Washington, D.C.
Organizers: Noemi Lendvai, University of Bristol, UK, and Paul Stubbs, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb


Although it is widely recognized that ‘space’ and ‘time’ are actively enrolled and reassembled within policy, there has been much more focus on ‘space’ than ‘time’ with a significant literature addressing ‘new geographies of policy’ and the importance of ‘cross jurisdictional flows’ and ‘translations’ (Peck, 2001; Clarke et al, 2015). Peck and Theodore’s recent book ‘Fast Policy’ (2015) is an exception, exploring the rapid acceleration, time-space compression, and slick mobility of contemporary policy making processes, exploring both ‘participatory budgeting’ and ‘conditional cash transfers’. This is far from the whole story, however, suggesting the need for the study of what may appear as ‘fast and smooth’ policy to be complemented by the study of ‘slow and contested’ policy. Behind every example of supposedly intensified and instantaneous connectivity of policy nodes, there is a much more complex set of often competing ‘temporal imperatives’ (Costas and Grey, 2014) at work. This panel is looking for papers, conceptual and empirical, which explore the multiple, complex, and contradictory temporalities of policy, addressing how policies not only ‘pass through time’ but themselves re-order and re-constitute time (Oke, 2009). How are some of the ‘rhythms and ruptures’ (Coffey, 2004) of policy time manifested in practice? How do policy narratives seek to re-organise time and what is the power of ‘counter-hegemonic’ temporalities in specific contexts? How do the different temporalities of, inter alia, policy consultants, policy makers, street level bureaucrats and service users imapct on the social life of policy? Can a ‘politics of the slow’ (Mountz et al, 2015) be complemented by a deliberate attention to ‘slow policy’?        


Clarke, J. et al (2015) Making Policy Move: towards a politics of translation and assemblage, Bristol: Policy Press

Coffey A. (2004) Reconceptualising Social Policy, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Costas, J. and C. Grey (2014) ‘The Temporality of Power and the Power of Temporality: imaginary future selves in professional service firms’, Organization Studies 35(6): 909-937.

Mountz, A. et al (2015) ‘For Slow Scholarship: a feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university’, ACME: an international ejournal for critical geographies 14(4)

Oke, N. (2009) ‘Globalizing Time and Space: temporal and spatial considerations in discourses of globalization’, International Polictical Sociology 3(3): 310 – 326.

Peck, J. and N. Theodore (2015) Fast Policy: experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 

Please submit title and abstract of no more than 250 words to [email protected] by 3 April 2017.