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:

Call for papers (AAA): 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 Adaption,” 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 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 (AAA): Rare disease interventions

Dear colleagues,

We invite abstracts to the following panel for the 2018 AAA meetings in San Jose, California – November 14-18:

Panel Title:
What Does it Mean to ‘Care for Rare’? Anthropological Interventions and Imagination in Rare Disease

Marlee McGuire, PhD Candidate
CIHR Douglas Kinsella Doctoral Researcher in Bioethics
Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada

Małgorzata Rajtar, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

Mara Buchbinder, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Panel Abstract:

A daily tablespoon of corn starch, a low protein diet, carnitine supplements, Omega 3 fish oil pills, a biologic enzyme replacement therapy that costs $500,000 per year: what links these different substances and practices is that they are all treatments for rare genetic metabolic disease. The conditions that get labeled ‘rare’ or ‘orphan’ constitute a diverse and growing group of up to 8000 genetic conditions that are chronic, disabling, and sometimes fatal. Biomedical care practices in rare disease have been substantially altered in recent years—from a clinical practice of testing and tinkering with different dosages of vitamins and therapeutic diets to one that also includes prescribing and monitoring the use of controversial expensive therapies. Newborn genetic screening programs facilitate earlier treatment of the afflicted, but they equally raise new ethical questions and introduce new inequalities in terms of access and money. In all contexts, patients and their families grapple with being ‘rare,’ particularly as these interventions and technologies open new moral frames for cultural projects of belonging and care.

Following the 1983 United States Orphan Drug Act and similar incentivizing legislations worldwide, recent years have witnessed an expansion of pharmacological, biomedical, and biotechnological interventions in the field of rare diseases. This has infused rare disease care with massive flows of capital and industry funding, making them impossible to ignore. Public and private systems worldwide have responded in variable ways. The Council of the European Union instituted a rare disease policy in 2009 but only some member states have followed through on developing national plans or strategies. In a very different policy direction, Canada has adopted a ‘policy of non-policy’—efforts to develop one stalled by multi-stakeholder negotiations between those who profit from rare diseases and those who pay for them. As higher-income Western states struggle to find a way to reconcile how to ‘care for rare’ within existing political frameworks, private industry actors take the opportunity to profoundly reshape health care systems, regulatory agencies, and resource allocation mechanisms. States not within the global economic core are left to figure out whether and how to integrate these treatments and practices into their own health care systems, amidst other pressing public health concerns.

Against this background of biomedical and political interventions, this panel calls for anthropological attention to sociocultural, institutional, economic, and medical entanglements of rare diseases. Rare disease urges us all to ask deeper theoretical questions about the dichotomies that structure ethics and policy more generally: the few versus the many, equity versus equality, evidence versus hope. Specifically, we ask what tensions the notion of “rarity” presents at the individual/collective and population/global health levels; what ethical theories inform the discourse about rare diseases and structure access to treatment and/or care globally; how power structures are appropriated as well as how biomedical and biotechnological inequalities are handled by different actors in the field of rare diseases. Finally, we are interested in an analysis of care practices employed in the field of rare diseases, broadly defined.

Call for Abstracts:
We invite ethnographically grounded and theoretically inspiring paper abstracts (of up to 250 words) that attend to the above-mentioned issues. Please send your abstracts to both Marlee McGuire (at: [email protected]) and Malgorzata Rajtar (at: [email protected]) by March 31st 2018 at 5pm PST. Decisions about acceptance for this panel will be emailed by April 4th 2018.

2018 AAA Annual Meeting information:

Thank you and best regards,

Marlee & Malgorzata

Call for papers: Migration and borders

Call for papers: Edited volume by the Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (CORI)

Porous Borders, Invisible Boundaries

The 21st century continues to see an explosion in all forms of migration due to socioeconomic, political, and security factors.  While this suggests that borders are easier to cross, the growing security industry and rising anti-immigrant sentiment in many countries suggests that border crossings remain fraught with difficulties and dangers.  Borders are increasingly becoming difficult to cross as new technology and policy increase surveillance and patrolling of state boundaries.  Migrants’ adjustment in their new homes continues to be challenged by nativists who create difficulties for those trying to establish a new life in host countries.  Nonetheless, many migrants are able to create sustainable communities and establish healthy ties with the vast majority of the population in their new home.  Migration will continue to be a topic that will occupy politicians, activists, and scholars for time to come.

The Society for Urban, National, Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA) welcomes proposals for essays to be included in a 2018 edited Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (CORI) volume.  This volume will address the vulnerability and challenge of being a migrant in today’s world. We invite scholarship that explores the vicissitudes of contemporary migration vis-à-vis a diverse range of topics in various cultural and social settings.  We are interested in papers that address the plight of migrants, as well as the impact of migrants and migration on host countries. Topics could include the opening of grocery stores stocked with Turkish foods in Germany, support for DACA students in the United States, the rise of the UKIP in the United Kingdom, or pro-refugee resettlement programs in Australia and Canada.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words for a text (2000-word) or photo (700-word plus up to 6 photos) essay to [email protected] by 19 March 2018.  Authors whose proposals are accepted should plan to submit completed essays, with a 100-word bio, by 1 June 2018.

For a sense of the format for text and photo essays, please refer to the 2017 CORI volume Maintaining Refuge: Anthropological Reflections in Uncertain Times at

Dr. Chima Michael Anyadike-Danes
SUNTA Webmaster

Call for papers and sessions: AAA in San Jose

Dear Colleagues,

The 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) will convene in San Jose, CA November  14 – 18, 2018 with the theme: “Resistance, Resilience, Adaptation.” As Program Co-Chairs, we encourage you to consider selecting The Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP) to review your conference submissions. Below, you will find information to help you prepare for the meeting.

DATES: Abstract submissions for all proposal types opened on February 16, 2018. The deadline for all submissions to the AAA website is 3 PM EDT on Monday, April 16, 2018.

SESSION TYPES: AAA is committed to supporting a variety of session types this year. Conventional paper panels will remain the main format but do consider submitting ideas for other formats, including: poster panels; roundtables; retrospective sessions (intended to highlight career contributions of leading scholars); 5 minute, rapid, ‘flash’ presentations; installations. The full range can be viewed here:

Panel organizers have one hour and forty-five minutes to work with, and there is a lot ASAP members can do to creatively maximize that time. A standard format allows for 4 x  15 minute papers and 10 minutes for discussant comments, but other ways of dividing the time are possible.

If you plan to present your work at the AAA, we encourage you to either organize or co-organize a session yourself or seek out others who are organizing one that relates to your research. (The ASAP listserv is a great forum for this). While we will do our best to organize individually submitted abstracts into sessions based on common themes, organized sessions have a greater success in being accepted, and are usually more coherent.

Invited Sessions are meant to present cutting-edge research and/or issues of interest to our entire section. Please note that ASAP considers all sessions submitted to our section for invited status. However, if you have questions about invited status or would like to draw our attention to your submission as a strong candidate for invited status, we encourage you to email us. We increase the likely number of Invited Sessions if we partner with other sections, so please consider this when putting a prospective panel together. The full list of sections and their interests can be found here:

PARTICIPATION RULES AND POLICIES:  Before you make your plans, please see the Annual Meeting Particpation Rules here:   Note that meeting participation is limited to AAA members (with some exceptions). Also, please note the One-Plus-One rule which means that participants may only: (1) present one paper/poster, or serve as a participant on one roundtable or installation and (2) accept no more than one discussant role elsewhere on the program. An individual may serve as organizer or chair of an unlimited number of sessions. These rules are strictly enforced by the AAA Program Committee.

SUBMISSION PORTAL:  Please remember that the AAA requires all participants to submit abstracts and proposals using the online submission portal which can be found here: Hopefully, this will prove to be less problematic than last year although the advice is to complete your submission as early as possible.

Please visit the AAA Conference Website  here: for more information about attending the meeting and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the ASAP review process.

Warm greetings,
Paul Stubbs ([email protected]) and Carol MacLennan ([email protected])
ASAP 2018 Program Co-Chairs


Call for papers: AAA – Immigration

Dear ASAP Colleagues: This is a CFP for the AAA conference in San Jose, CA, Nov. 14-18, 2018, for the following panel:
Panel title:
Anti-Immigration, Anti-Gender: Toward an Anthropology of Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia.

Agnieszka Kościańska, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
University of Warsaw, Poland

Joanna Mishtal, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of Central Florida, USA 

Panel Abstract:
In less than 30 years after democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, populist, far right and anti-European Union parties have either won elections or gained significant votes across the region. Anti-immigrant rhetoric and conservative notions of family values contributed greatly to their electoral successes. Populist and far right milieus protest loudly against hosting refugees and immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries, often claiming that these “foreign” and “racially other” groups may threaten the fabric of the society, including women’s rights and safety, or LGBTQ rights. Some states explicitly warn against “Islamization” and therefore reject non-Christian refugees. Simultaneously, populist groups strongly oppose gender equality and reproductive and sexual rights. For example, conservative nationalist administrations in Poland and Hungary condemn contemporary approaches to understanding gender as sociocultural and political constructs by presenting them as a form of “family demise” and threats to the nation. Moreover, populists in this region tend to portray women’s or sexual rights as imposed by Western and European elites, attempting to destroy local identities based in the traditional gender order. The picture that is therefore emerging in this part of the world is that of growing racisms and (hetero)sexisms, emboldened by election outcomes.

This panel contributes to the anthropology scholarship on anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, and “anti-genderism.” In recent years, anthropologists and other social scientists have analyzed extensively the region’s contemporary conflicts around migration/race and gender/sexuality, usually approaching them as two separate and distinct topics. This panel seeks to explore these lines of inquiry together.

Inspired by the conference themes of “Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation,” we invite paper proposals that consider how racist anti-immigrant and anti-gender discourses, policies, and practices overlap, intersect, or interrelate in new populist rhetoric and governance in Central and Eastern Europe, and other post-Soviet regions, including Russia. We are particularity interested in empirically grounded and theoretically informed studies tracing these intersections on variously levels such as policies, media, everyday life, religion, education, healthcare, and civil society. We also welcome analyses of mobilization and movements in favor or against populist causes, including growing racism, (hetero)sexisms, and other forms of exclusion and social justice issues. 

Some of the questions this panel seeks to explore are:
What are the spaces of intersection between gender/sexuality and race/ethnicity in populist rhetoric and policies? How are anti-immigrant and “anti-genderism” discourses produced, maintained, and contested? What are the relationships between actors involved in anti-gender and anti-immigrant mobilization? What is a Central and Eastern European, or post-Soviet and post-socialist specificity, if any, of anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-genderism? What are their historical, political, or cultural roots? What is the relationship between “traditional” xenophobia and patriarchal gender regimes? What are the new fears and anxieties underpinning and/or emerging from these contexts? What models of biopolitics, national identity, governance, moral economies, and discrimination emerge from the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality from these populist trends? How are these models contested? In what ways could anthropological knowledge contribute to resisting these trends and imagining a shared future?

Call for abstracts:

We invite interested panelists to submit abstracts of up to 250 words by March 15, 2018, via email to Agnieszka Kościańska – [email protected]  and Joanna Mishtal – [email protected]. Decisions about acceptance of abstracts for this panel will be emailed by March 20, 2018.

Please note:

AAA requires that everyone must register before April 16, 2018 for the conference at the time of submitting the panel proposal and presenters’ abstracts. Registration fee is refunded if a presenter is not accepted. Registration fee is lower for AAA members, therefore we recommend becoming a member and then registering. 

ASAP/AN column: Preview of ASAP panels at the AAA

The latest ASAP Anthropology News column is now available on line at:

The column is a review by Ted Powers of the ASAP panels that will be held at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. Note that a list of the panels is also available as a previous ASAP post, the durable link for which is:

APLA off-site event at AAA in Washington

Dear ASAP members and friends,

I am reaching out to ask you to let you know about an offsite event in Washington that may be of interest. This year, APLA (Association for Political and Legal Anthropology) is holding a cocktail reception and roundtable discussion at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V location, 2021 14th St NW. It will be Thursday, November 30, at 7.45 pm. The event is called “Speaking Justice to Power: Anthropology Responds to the New World Disorder.”

Our roundtable discussion special guests are Orisanmi Burton, Laura Nader, Ayşe Parla, and Sara Shneiderman. Full details are available at:

All the best,
Jennifer Curtis
Webmaster, Association for Political and Legal Anthropology

Joint SMA – ASAP session at AAA meeting in Washington

Become a Change Agent: Lessons from Experts Offered at Annual Meeting

November 30: 6:30-8:15
Omni Shoreham Hotel
Ambassador Ballroom

Want to influence public policy that shapes the health and wellbeing in the U.S. and elsewhere? Interested in learning about techniques that can impact how policy gets developed and implemented, or want to further hone your own advocacy skills? Going to the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association this year?

If so, please join the Society of Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP) for a co-hosted mentoring event on Thursday, November 30th between 6:30 pm and 8:15 pm. The event will be held in the Ambassador Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel and will include free yummy snacks, a cash bar, and two prominent speakers! This event (“How to Have an Impact on Health Policy: Lessons from Experts”) will focus on how we, as anthropologists, can be successful health policy advocates and change agents, focusing on the pragmatics of advocating for health policy by writing effectively for various media, collaborating with community organizations, and taking part in legislative processes.

The first speaker is Kathy Mulvey of the Climate and Energy Team at the Union of Concerned Scientists. For more than a quarter century, Kathy has worked in the trenches with researchers on policy analysis, campaigning, and legislative activity on a wide range of corporate accountability, environmental, and public health issues.

The second speaker is Ted Miller, a nationally-renowned economist and leading expert on injury and violence in the U.S. The author of over 250 publications, Ted will share his tried-and-true tips for engaging both media and policymakers on some of the most pressing social and health matters of our day, such as gun control.

Together, Kathy and Ted will school us how we can play a role in framing, enacting, and evaluating of health policy. After we hear from the speakers, audience participants will split up into expert-facilitated groups to brainstorm how to best implement these practices and troubleshoot their own ongoing efforts. If you are interested in hands-on help, feel free to bring any of your own advocacy materials (e.g., op-eds, policy briefs) for on-site input. This is one mentoring event not to be missed!