[URBANTH-L] Urban anthropology and involuntary resettlement at the SFAA meetings

Dolores Koenig dkoenig at american.edu
Thu Oct 4 12:47:58 EDT 2007

Dear All:

I am interested in hearing from people who would look to participate in 
a session on Urban Displacement and Resettlement proposed for the 
meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology to be held in Memphis, 
Tennessee on March 25-29 2008. The Program Chair, Satish Kedia, works in 
the field of displacement and involuntary resettlement and has suggested 
including a set of sessions about displacement and resettlement 
research, of which this is one proposed session. (Session Abstract at 
bottom of e-mail).

My view of this session is wide because it reflects my own view of 
involuntary resettlement research, especially in urban situations. While 
much contemporary involuntary resettlement research has focused on 
publicly-funded projects in developing countries, I believe that 
understandings of involuntary displacement, resettlement, and its 
consequences would benefit from consideration of a much wider set of 
circumstances, including private gentrification of a variety of types 
and the integration (or non-integration) of refugees as well as classic 
urban renewal initiatives. I think it is also important to look at 
situations in both developed and developing countries, for their 
similarities as well as their differences.

I also think urban displacement and resettlement needs much more 
attention. Although many people now look at gentrification and there are 
many classic studies of urban renewal, the issue has received much less 
attention in recent years. In particular, policy guidelines in 
international organizations have been biased toward dams and rural 
resettlement, even though evidence suggests that at least as many, if 
not more, people are forcibly displaced by various urban initiatives.

Therefore, I am trying to put together a session focusing on this issue 
for the SfAA meetings. There is some urgency about this because the 
deadline for submission of abstracts is October 15. Sorry to be so late 
in getting started on this, but this effort for a structured set of 
sessions was only recently put together - there may be a possibility to 
submit a slightly late proposal, but please aim for October 15. The 
abstract need be only 100 words, so this would seem to be feasible. For 
more information about the meetings in general and how to submit a paper 
proposal, please see: www.sfaa.net.

If you are interested, please send me a copy of your abstract to 
dkoenig at american.edu before submitting it to sfaa. Please contact me if 
you have further questions. I hope that you will consider participating 
in this panel.

Dolores Koenig
Department of Anthropology
American University

The Challenges of Urban Resettlement

Urban displacement and resettlement are worldwide issues. The expanding 
populations of developing country cities are often forced to move from 
semi-legal neighborhoods; new patterns of growth and changing economies 
displace many in developing country cities. This session will explore 
the challenges faced by anthropologists who want to decrease the forced 
displacement of urban residents and increase their chances for 
rights-respecting resettlement when displacement occurs. These papers 
address urban displacement in both developed and developing countries. 
They look at how individuals and groups resist displacement and try to 
improvement resettlement outcomes in a range of situations from 
publicly-financed urban renewal projects to refugee resettlement to 
privately- funded gentrification.

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