Infrastructures underpin everyday life, mediating our experiences of space and time, and enabling --or obstructing-- the circulation of peoples, goods, knowledge, and meaning. Infrastructures are thus positioned at the center of contemporary struggles over access to resources, citizenship, and mobility. This panel will examine these concerns by considering how infrastructures shape, and are shaped by, forms of difference and inequality, producing material and metaphorical borders that organize social worlds. We seek papers on b/ordering infrastructures, that is, papers that explore how infrastructures work as bordering and ordering technologies.
Papers will consider (but are not restricted to) the following questions:
· How do infrastructures produce boundaries --but also encounters-- across difference? That is, how do infrastructures function as technologies of inclusion and exclusion?
· How do infrastructures organize human and nonhuman difference, mediating mobilities and exchanges that define landscapes and territories? How can infrastructures, as they are practiced and enacted, support or subvert regimes of governance and citizenship?
· Finally, how might attention to borders make us reimagine infrastructure? And how might attention to infrastructure make us reimagine borders?
The panel aims to bring into dialogue diverse approaches to mobility, materiality and power. While the anthropology of infrastructure conversant with science and technology studies and affect theory produces insights on the encounters of state and society, nature and culture, and people and things, social theory concerned with the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class interrogates borders (as metaphors but also as infrastructures) to illuminate the politics of translation, transgression, mediation, and encounter. We welcome papers engaging these frameworks and their interstices to consider infrastructure as built structures such as roads, pipes and checkpoints but also more-than-human configurations of bureaucracies, legal systems, emergency services, and other kinds of institutions. Contributions from advanced graduate students and recent PhDs preferred.
Submission deadline for abstracts (no more than 250 words): April 1, 2015. Interested participants please firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include an abstract, title, affiliation, and current status (PhD candidacy post fieldwork, Post Doc, Faculty position).
Rosa Elena Ficek (Wesleyan University)
Stephanie Mc Callum (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Mediterranean Encounters: The Incommensurability of Difference
Panel Organizers: Netta Van Vliet (College of the Atlantic) & Carla Hung (Duke University)
This panel focuses on encounters with difference across the Mediterranean that consider the irreducible alterity and singularity of the other. The Mediterranean, that which is between lands, has long been narrated as a space of cultural and commercial exchange. At a time when the prevailing response to encounters with the foreign and the strange is through political and discursive assimilation, we ask what alternatives there might be to tolerance and inclusion. How can we understand encounters across the Mediterranean without recourse to a logic of equivalence? Anthropology?s interest in the study of difference has populated the discipline with a variety of tools, both conceptual and methodological, which can engage with what Jim Siegel (2008) has called "the objects and objections of ethnography." Circulating through feminist theory, postcolonial studies, and literary theory but beginning with and returning to anthropology's unique method of participant-observation, this panel tries to understand difference without folding it into an ontology of the self-same or "making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.? In so doing, it provides an opportunity to challenge anthropology's foundational concepts of culture, identity, and community. The panel examines the implications of such an approach for questions of politics, human rights, the law, and the tension between the universal, the particular, and the singular. What can be learned when ethnographic experience is understood in terms of products of representation rather than as evidence?
The Mediterranean has historically been a site of linguistic, political, economic and material encounters between East and West, North and South, Europe and its others, between Arab and Jew, European and African, refuge and asylum seeker. Taking the Mediterranean as a site through which to conduct close readings of the geopolitical and temporal movements across land and water, East and West, North and South, Europe and its others that have taken place on both sides of its shores, the panelists strive to think about the strange without making it familiar. This panel is interested in addressing the questions posed by incommensurable difference through a diverse set of ethnographic examples, including engagements with movement between madness and reason, religious and secular, life and death, diaspora and at home, and human and inhuman.
Please send a 250 word abstract and a title for your proposed contribution to Carla Hung email@example.com by Wednesday April 1, 2015. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 5th.
Entangled Border Crossings: Identity Construction, Disciplinary Boundaries, and Asian Diaspora
Taking Asian and Asian American identities as dynamic and often times contested processes, the focus of this panel explores the multiple ways in which these subjectivities are constructed and renegotiated in a complex world characterized and shaped by active technological changes, flows of migrants and travelers, and capital assemblages. Even for those whose physical movement is limited, the trends and flows that transcend geographic and political borders are difficult to ignore. Examining these processes highlights the dynamism of Asian and Asian American identities, where the familiar/strange dynamic that is the theme of this year’s conference often comes into play as subjects encounter the Asian/Asian American “other.” The panel draws from ethnographic work conducted among people of Asian descent in specific sites in Asia, the U.S., or elsewhere to shed light on the challenges and opportunities created by the complex process of identity construction, which draws from a multitude of local and global resources. What competing narratives do we find about Asian American or Asian identity and its relationship to a larger Asian diaspora? What salient concepts or motivations are linked to various contemporary ideas of “Asian identity?” Furthermore, the multi-sited, ethnographically rooted insights which characterize anthropological perspectives can help further push the boundaries of area studies approaches typified by Asian and Asian American Studies by providing grounded research on specific contexts of power, governmentality, and cultural politics that shape the very impact of these flows. This panel seeks to scrutinize and unpack the complex processes that individuals find themselves in various cultural contexts to examine how a range of individuals imagine, interpret and understand this dynamic and at times contested process of identity construction.
Submission deadline for abstracts (no more than 250 words): April 1, 2015.
Interested participants please email both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please include an abstract, title, affiliation, and current status (PhD candidacy post fieldwork, Post Doc, Faculty position). Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 5th.
New Sending Communities and New Receiving Communities in Dialogue with Migration Theory
In the past decade, theorists have argued that the notion of migrant networks at the heart of cumulative causation and transnational theories of migration requires revisiting. These theorists assert that because research tends to report on already existing networks, a number of key questions remain. This critique suggests that research on new sending and new receiving communities is well-poised to evaluate and contribute to migration theory. New sending and receiving communities often garner little attention, especially when located in marginalized parts of countries or regions that already have a strong presence in international migration streams. This panel takes as its starting point a dialogue between these communities and migration theory. From the perspective of sending communities, what is the connection between international sojourns and historical antecedents of localized moves? Cumulative causation theory posits a few individuals--people whose nonconformity in their own societies lead them to travel outside it--open paths for prospective migrants. Nonconformists are not necessarily trendsetters. Thus, we ask: How do their actions become popularized and, in some cases, self-reinforcing? From the perspective of new receiving communities, this panel questions: how do employers, landowners, shopkeepers, and other residents establish the social capital and cultural skills required to operate in changing cultural settings? In both new sending and new receiving communities, how does migration work to alter social constructs such as class, race, gender, kin, and other power relations? Which beliefs, ideas, and behaviors--at home and abroad—are most vulnerable to migration’s effects at its outset? While these questions respond to today’s prominent theories, the panel also considers how the ethnography of new sending and receiving communities opens possibilities for novel considerations and explanatory frameworks.
Panel Organizers: Nora Haenn, North Carolina State University and Michelle Moran-Taylor, University of Denver
Panel Discussant: Deborah Boehm, University of Nevada, Reno
Potential participants should send their abstracts (250 words max) to Nora Haenn (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 3rd, 2015. Please include the title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation, and email. Thank you.
Making the Familiar Strange: experimenting with cultures of biomedical interventions
Anthropologists have long worked with and along biomedical interventions. Such research has explored areas of medical treatment, hygiene, child maternal care, epidemics, vaccination, and drug development. Drawing from a rich literature of medical anthropologists and science and technology scholars, these studies have raised issues of generalizability across populations and individuals, characterizations of research subject, recruitment procedures, and methodologies of comparison.
This panel is interested in particular forms of interventions that are associated with specific and notions of evidence, namely, the growing reliance on so-called evidence based methods, and the associated method of the RCT that is dominating health and social policy in the US, UK, and across Europe. As anthropologists becoming entangled in these processes of clinical trial implementation, this panel will raise questions as to whether or not we are becoming too familiar with the language and culture of biomedical interventions. And, to address this concern, contributors will discuss ways to engage and experiment with intervention research in order to make the familiar and assumed dependable research method of the RCT appear strange and incomplete.
The panel will therefore address how it is that RCTs and the concept of the intervention has become so normalised, familiar, standard, and even boring, and in what ways anthropology might unsettle this. These experiment could include creative conceptualisations of biomedical interventions and research designs, explorations of how biomedical research methods encapsulate specific worldviews, and how imaginaries of places, people, and bodies are enacted in the development of the research design.
We are also interested in what does not normally get included in the formal research protocols or publications of evidence based medicine. A running theme will therefore also be the notion of surplus information or the “remainders” (Strathern 1991) of trial research. As anthropologists that study interventions and research design (rather than simply contribute to their operation) we invite papers that capture the residual or strange knowledge that does not get registered in usual systems of knowledge production. These can be explorations into the body of excess data production, the unintended consequences or outcomes that are not typically acknowledged, or novel analytical ways to think and write about the mundane processes of standardization and research design.
We invite papers that explore questions related to:
· How global standards (such as research questionnaires, research protocols, systems of measurement and analysis etc.) travel across boundaries and are applied in locally situated trials?
· How data become standardized in the context of pooling international clinical trial data from various consortiums?
· What kinds of research design allow for the generation of new questions in the ongoing process of trial or study implementation?
· How are clinical trials that test behavioural interventions used to expand research on diabetes, obesity, cancer, and HIV?
· What kinds of locally specific practices are used in the everyday implementation of multi-sited clinical trials?
· What labour is involved in standardizing clinical trials in the everyday? What kinds of “random effects” or variability are masked in the process of standardizing ?
We invite scholars whose work examines research design and interventions broadly defined, to join us for the 2015 American Anthropological Association meeting in Denver, Colorado. Please e-mail your abstract of no more than 250 words to Natali Valdez email@example.com by April 9, 2015.
If you have any questions, please contact one of the following panel organizers:
Line Hillersdal (University of Copenhagen) firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonas Winther (University of Copenhagen) email@example.com
Natali Valdez (University of California, Irvine) firstname.lastname@example.org
Going Public / Becoming Private: Collaboration, Nontransparency, and Hybridity between Government and Industry
Conditions of late capitalism, socialism and post-socialism have demonstrated that when it comes to relations between government and industry, myriad configurations are possible. NGOs and state-owned enterprises push the boundaries of what might be considered a business or a corporation, while privatization and corruption circumscribe new and strange members within constellations of the state, government agencies (Stark 1996), public property (Verdery 1997), and public money. Mindful that what we consider to be public must be made public (Latour and Weibel 2005), and that multiple economic systems operate, cheek by jowl, in the same spaces and institutions (Gibson-Graham 2006), papers on this panel ethnographically examine how forms of relationality between industry and government at all levels reshape our understandings of the state, local government, small and medium enterprises, and corporations, and reconfigure notions about what institutions, property, and forms of value are public or private. Ultimately, we explore how understandings of government-industry relations come to be, and the effects these understandings bring about in the world.
Papers for this panel might consider:
NGOs, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
Corruption, transparency and nontransparency
Taxation or insurance sweetheart deals
Intellectual property rights guarantees
Government land seizures and eminent domain
Too-big-to-fail financial institutions, moral hazard