[URBANTH-L]CFP: Transcending Postcolonial Conditions: Towards Alternative Modernities (Cape Town)

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Thu Oct 20 21:32:11 EDT 2005

CFP:  Transcending Postcolonial
Conditions: Towards alternative modernities

IUAES, Pan African Association of Anthropologists
and Anthropology Southern Africa

Deadline: 15 November 2005/ 31 March 2006

The postcolonial predicament traverses north and south,
structurally connecting all of the world's marginalised people,
wherever they are. The modernising process implemented by
European colonialism, and which endures to the present,
succeeded in incorporating vast portions of the world's
population, only then to push many to the global political-economic
periphery. Moreover, as has been shown for areas of the Pacific rim
where Europe's colonial presence was not so marked, alternative
modernist structures have arisen.

The question that arises is whether those alternatives are also
structurally such that they will drive many to their margins, or
whether the new connectivities they create will be more
stable than has been the case for the postcolonial world. To a large
extent the postcolonial condition has been shown to be marked by
intermittent and often broken connections that draw people into
overarching structures and simultaneously push them to the edges
of the institutions that predominate within those structures. Some of
these patterns are repeated in contemporary capitalist and imperialist
projects. Yet in all such contexts one finds social processes at work
whereby people strive to connect and reconnect in new ways,
establishing and maintaining diverse social, economic and political links,
both between themselves and with the rest of the increasingly globalising

While seeming to promise a new kind of connectivity of citizenship, all
too often those connections too have become ever more intermittent,
and sometimes broken. Such conditions are very marked in postcolonial
states. But they are also increasingly experienced by the metropolitan
'first world's' own marginalised people and by people in 'second world'
countries and regions that, having thrown off the shackles of empire, now
find their connectivity rather more tenuous than had been anticipated,
both to centres of power and to each other. And we need to ask,
therefore, whether the processes that create alternative modernities in
postcolonial and other emerging modern states are structurally as
distinctive as the rhetoric of alterity in modernity might suggest. The
conference theme requires work that is situated in a broad structural
and historical context. Its goal is to attract papers that focus
ethnographically, and use anthropological theory, on a range of

The theme also aims to attract papers that reveal how people strategise
to overcome the obstacles of interrupted connections, and the tactics
they adopt to deal with such obstacles, thus attempting to transcend,
or successfully transcending, their postcolonial conditions. A further
goal is to use such empirically-grounded analyses to generate discussion
about alternative modernist state and inter-state structures, interrogating
the extent to which those structures produce solidary social forms rather
than, once again, centres and peripheries between which the connections
are primarily in the interests of the centres. Sub themes include
anthropological/ ethnographic considerations of:

* Postcolonial conditions and everyday lived experience in a globalised
* Multiple modernities and quotidian social experiences and practices
* Racism, xenophobia gender, sexuality and (dis)connectivities
* Global political-economic structures and (dis)connectivities
* Anthropology's uneasy relationship with science and technology:
medicine, 'development', ethics; capitalism, digital information systems
* The status of anthropology from postcolonial contexts
* Environment, heritage and the social construction of connections
* Migrancy, diaspora and identity constructions
* The nation-state as ethnographic problematique
* Performance and other modes of resistance to constraining socio
-political structures
* Modernist social movements in a globalised world

First call for papers: The conference organising committee is now
calling for abstracts for proposed papers and panels (with a complete
set of abstracts) on topics in the field of anthropology that address the
conference theme. Since it is likely that there will be limited space at
the conference, the organising committee will scrutinise all proposals
in order to select those that most directly connect with the conference
theme, and it reserves the right to call for fuller papers before reaching
a decision, and to exclude proposals that are submitted. A final
deadline for submission of abstracts for proposed papers and panels is
likely to be 31 March 2006, but for those who might be dependent on
the possibility of financial support for their attendance at the conference,
submission of proposals before 15 November 2005 is required so that
the organisers can apply for funding to offer such support. Convenor
Associate Professor Andrew 'Mugsy' Spiegel, University of Cape
Town (mugsy at humanities.ucat.ac.za) Coordinator Deborah
McTeer/Janet Sirmongpong. Please send all communication regarding
the conference to:

Contact Information:
Deborah McTeer
Conference Management Centre, UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
P O Oservatory 7925
Cape Town South Africa
Phone: +27 21 406 6348
Email: deborah at curie.uct.ac.za
URL http://www.uct-cmc.co.za/conferences/2006/tpc/info.php

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