Julian Brash sana2006nyc at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 14:31:20 EST 2005

Please Circulate:

Call for Papers:

"Anthropology in an Uncertain Age"
2006 Meetings of the Society for the Anthropology of North America


April 20-22, 2006

Newman Conference Center
Baruch College
New York, NY

Deadline for Paper and Panel Submission: February 15, 2006

For submission, registration and other information please visit the
conference website at http://sananet.org/2006conf/papers.html

The Society for the Anthropology of North America invites participants
to discuss the state of anthropology in a period of uncertainty and
change at our 2006 conference, to be held April 20-22 at the Newman
Conference Center of Baruch College in New York City.

If the 1990s were characterized by the ascendance of the twin projects
of neoliberalism and globalization, and if the immediate post-9-11
period was characterized by a forceful American nationalism and
unilateralism, now there is a sense that things are falling apart.
The American political-economic vision that reigned supreme a short
time ago now seems stalled, caught in the dual quagmires of Iraq and
Afghanistan.  Global economic integration and free markets have
produced new rivalries in Europe, North American, China and India, as
well as disastrous economic failures and intensified social suffering
in Latin America, Africa and developing nations across the globe.

Closer to home, the  American national state is now unable  to fulfill
its most basic obligations, as Hurricane Katrina made clear.  As
environmental regulations loosen, tax burdens shift to the middle and
working classes, and wages stagnate, the empire begins to resemble its
poorer neighbors. In this context, it is paradoxical to many of us
that the appeal of radical individualism, crude materialism, and
self-righteous conservatism in American popular culture seem stronger
than ever.

In the midst of all this, the stakes for anthropology are high. Are
things falling apart – and is this a good thing? Should we view all of
this with distress, or hope? And what is the role of anthropology and
the anthropologist in the early years of an already eventful and
perplexing 21st Century?

The 2006 conference will be held in New York City, which itself
epitomizes the conference's theme.  Despite outward signs of the
city's post-9-11 recovery – a booming tourism economy and a hot
property market, new development in all five boroughs and the decline
of the racial tensions of recent decades – there are also signs that
NYC's status as the self-styled "capital of the world" is threatened:
the city's share of the financial industry is in decline; driven by
exorbitant housing costs, the working class and even the middle class
is slowly leaking out of the city, leaving it more and more to the
very rich and the very poor; and immigrants, the key to much of the
city's economic and cultural vitality, are increasingly bypassing this
traditional port of entry and heading directly to the south and west.

Though topics and geographic areas are open, here are some possible
themes for panels and papers:

Pedagogy and Research in an Uncertain Era: For decades we have
struggled to be more than just purveyors of exotic cultures to our
students.  How do new popular cultural and political shifts – the rise
of fundamentalisms, neo-racism, the movement against gay marriage and
so forth – affect what we do in the classroom and beyond?  What kinds
of public pedagogies might anthropologists develop and contribute in
the public sphere? How should we respond to shifts in academic life
such as the corporatization of the academy and the rise of think-tank
culture? What is the future of research in an academy regulated by
IRBs and in a policy arena characterized by secrecy?

Governmentality: The rise of neoliberal governance different scales
prompted anthropologists to explore the relations between new
strategies and tactics of governance and new forms of
subjectification.  What is 21st century "government" and who is the
21st century subject?

Sovereignty: In the 1990s, the concept of sovereignty reemerged as a
focus of intense discussion, especially in the context of
globalization and purported decline of the nation-state; Hardt and
Negri's Empire, with its argument that sovereignty had become
dispersed and placeless, typifies this.  How are we to judge this kind
of argument, and how are we to understand sovereignty when the first
decade of the 21st century seems to be characterized by a reassertion
of the power of the nation state?

Imperialisms and Empires: During the past few years, "empire" and
"imperialism" have replaced "globalization" as the new buzzwords of
thinkers concerned with international relations.  Is there a new
imperialism or an old imperialism in new clothes? Or are we seeing
something altogether different?

Restructuring and globalization: The assault on workers' rights,
wages, and standards of living continues, often under the rubric of
"globalization."  Profits remain high, wages remain flat.
"Outsourcing" threatens workers higher and higher in the wage and
status hierarchy.  What is the state of global capitalism five years
past the turn of the century?

(Un)healthy bodies: Concerns about the body and health are everywhere:
from fears of Avian Flu, to the rise of the organic and whole food
industry, to the ubiquity of gyms, to a simmering dissatisfaction with
the state of the US' health insurance and public health systems.  What
is the state of the body, medicine, and health in the early years of
21st century?

Racial Justice:  We see clear evidence of racial injustice in the wake
of Hurricane Katrina.  Yet the only high-profile response to racial
injustice is the Millions More March, itself controversial in a number
of ways.  How does racial injustice – and the struggle t against it –
manifest itself in the 21st century?

Gender, Kinship, Feminism, and Queer politics:  The campaign to ban
gay marriage garnered responses from anthropologists – from a
statement by the AAA, to a special issue of the American Ethnologist,
to articles and the National Review.  Clearly, the idea of "the
family," implicating gender, kinship, and sexuality, is subject to
conflict.  Meanwhile, some women are attaining positions of power in,
ironically, a conservative administration, even as women overall
remain more subject to poverty, low-wages, and the dual
responsibilities of work and home.  How can anthropologists and their
research address and inform discussion of these issues?

Religion: What is the relationship between Islam and terrorism?
Should Intelligent Design be taught in public schools?  What is the
proper relationship between organized religion and politics?  Religion
is at the heart of many cultural and political debates.  What does
anthropology, which has so long had religion, ritual and cosmology in
its purview, have to say about these questions?

We invite the submission of proposals for panels, roundtables, poster
sessions, film and video screenings, and other forms of presentation
on these or other topics.

The Society for the Anthropology of North America would like to thank
the Baruch College Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the
Baruch College Conference Center, and Myrna Chase, Dean of Baruch
College's Weissman School of Arts and Sciences for generously
providing conference space and services without which these meetings
could not be possible.

Please direct all inquiries or questions to Julian Brash, Conference
Chair, at sana2006nyc at gmail.com

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