[URBANTH-L]updated deadline SANA 2007

David I Beriss DBeriss at uno.edu
Thu Jan 18 13:59:00 EST 2007

NEW DEADLINE for the Society for the Anthropology of North America
Spring 2007 Conference

You may now submit your paper and session proposals by February 14,

Visit www.sananet.org for instructions.

See below for a reminder of the conference theme.  Keep in mind that
we welcome submissions for any research on North America.

In the call for papers, we noted that this conference will provide
many opportunities outside of the actual meetings.  Here are a few of
the events we expect to be able to offer:

1) Neighborhood history/environment/rebuilding tours.  We will take
you to the 9th Ward, to New Orleans East, to St. Bernard Parish, etc.
to see the impact of Katrina and to speak with residents and activists
about the challenges they still face.

2) A guided tour (by an anthropologist) of the areas of St. Bernard
Parish impacted by the Murphy Oil spill.  These neighborhoods were
devastated not only be 10-20 feet of water, but by millions of barrels
of oil at the same time.

3) Visits to the Vietnamese community in New Orleans East.  In one of
the most devastated parts of the city, this community was among the
first to return and revive.  They have faced challenges from both the
floods and from political leaders determined to place a landfill in
the area.  The organizing and revival of this community is one of the
bright spots of the recovery.

4) Meetings with education activists and school leaders.  The New
Orleans public school system, already in poor condition before
Katrina, were essentially wiped out by the disaster.  A variety of
charter schools, state-run schools and a very small city run system
have replace the public system in the wake of the disaster.  We will
arrange visits to schools and meetings with activists to see what this
may suggest both for New Orleans and for urban schools nationwide.

5) New Orleans Charity Hospital system - along with much of the health
care system - was destroyed.  A number of interesting initiatives,
including those of the Common Ground collective, have been developed
to meet the needs of the population.  We will meet with them to
explore the challenges of creating a health care system in a disaster

6) We hope to organize a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum,
where we can learn about efforts to preserve and develop New Orleans
Mardi Gras Indian and Second Line traditions.

7) The Crescent City Farmer's Market will organize a few special
events for us at their Saturday market, only a few blocks from the
conference site.

8) We will organize additional events around the recovery of the New
Orleans food industry, from visiting shrimpers and fishers, whose
fleets were devastated by the storm, to organizing meetings with
neighborhood restaurant owners, who are struggling to survive and to
rebuild the city's culinary traditions.

9) Neighborhood organizing has been one of the bright spots in the
recovery.  We will organize meetings with some of the neighborhood
groups to hear about their struggles.  We will also organize events
with other activist groups that have developed or grown since the
storm, including the Buy Local NOLA campaign, the Urban Conservancy,

10)  Similarly, a number of national organizing groups, from ACORN to
Habitat for Humanity, have been involved in large projects here.  We
can meet with them and perhaps even participate in their projects,
including house gutting or building new homes in devastated areas.

This is only a small sample of the activities we are organizing.  We
are also organizing a series of plenary panels around innovative
themes involving both anthropologists and local activists.  This will
be a conference unlike most of the others you have attended.

If you have not already submitted an abstract and made plans to come
on down, you should do so now.  New Orleans is still a wonderful place
to visit - there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, clubs, etc. open
in the areas around the conference site and you can still have a great
time here.  The city needs your solidarity now and you will enjoy
supporting us!

Come on down!

David Beriss
SANA 2007 Conference Chair  and Chair, Department of Anthropology,
University of New Orleans
Email: SANA2007NOLA at gmail.com

The call for papers:

Unnatural Disasters

April 19-21, 2007, New Orleans, Louisiana
University of New Orleans Downtown Conference Center

The Society for the Anthropology of North America invites participants
to join a discussion about the unnatural disasters unfolding around
us, in North America and beyond.  This conference, located in a city
and region that has recently experienced one of the most dramatic
unnatural disasters to occur in North America in decades, will provide
an unusual blend of scholarly discussion and opportunities to directly
observe the impact of that ongoing disaster.
We at SANA feel it particularly important to host our annual
conference in New Orleans this year.  The floods that followed
hurricane Katrina killed over 1500 people, destroyed thousands of
homes, and shattered the city's social fabric.  The disaster made
explicit many of the contradictions and conflicts that simmer beneath
the surface much of the time.  Recognizing widespread interest in what
is happening in post-Katrina New Orleans, this conference will go
beyond those typical academic conferences that are housed in
conference centers and hotels in stark isolation from the locales
where they take place.  In addition to research presentations, we will
organize a series of events and activities where conference
participants will be able to visit different neighborhoods, learn
about grassroots efforts to rebuild the city, and engage in dialogue
with activists and others who are fighting against the displacement,
poverty, and racism that have sadly become the hallmarks of New
Orleans's post-Katrina economic recovery.  
For this conference, we seek papers that analyze the genesis, meaning
and consequences of unnatural disasters.  We juxtapose these terms
precisely to encourage participants to raise questions about the
processes of naturalization-and normalization-through which human
agency is rendered visible and invisible first in naming some events
as disasters, in deeming disasters as worthy of both prevention and
remediation, and in defining other events as not disastrous or even
viewing them as serendipitous.  From this stance disasters can include
large scale environmental events, such as floods, hurricanes, oil
spills and earthquakes; the everyday struggles of ordinary people in
marginalized communities; ongoing disasters such as AIDS and
illiteracy.  What, exactly, constitutes a disaster has become one of
the central questions raised by recent events in the Gulf South, the
Middle East, and elsewhere. Indeed, Katrina, like many other 'natural'
catastrophes, put poverty, racism, and the lengths many women must go
to care for their families into the public eye.  It highlighted the
terrible consequences of inadequate investments in public
infrastructure and services in one US city.  And it is already clear
that the response to Katrina-a mixture of failed efforts to help
evacuees and successful creation of crony capitalist opportunities for
business-has remade the political, social, economic and cultural
landscape of an iconic city.
Large scale disasters often lead to calls for fundamental social and
cultural change, but even more often they seem to result in the
reaffirmation of the previous social order.  This conference will
occur at a moment when the calls for change at the site of recent
disasters have not (yet) ceded to the return of "order" and thus
provides a useful context to examine what disasters reveal about our
understandings of the personal and the political, the public and the
private, the distant or remote and the intimate, the natural and the
cultural, the innocent and the guilty, the inevitable and the
avoidable.  In the wake of recent disasters, it seems that a great
deal more than simply rebuilding homes and businesses is at stake.
Papers at this conference might raise questions about the relationship
between disasters of all sorts and the privatization of government
services, disinvestment in infrastructure, increasing inequality,
environmental degradation, the undermining of democratic institutions,
racism and heightened ethnic tensions.  Research that focuses on the
role of academe, the social sciences and anthropology in the context
of disasters will also be welcome.  By confronting our own research
with the reality of a city in the midst of recovery, we will be able
to consider whether or not the unnatural disaster in New Orleans
represents the future of North America.
Please visit the SANA web site, www.sananet.org, for further
information about the conference, instructions for submitting paper
and panel proposals, registration and travel information or send an
email to: SANA2007NOLA at gmail.com

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