[URBANTH-L]CFP AAA 2008: People in Motion, Things in Motion

Mathangi Krishnamurthy mathangi at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Mar 5 16:48:48 EST 2008

Call for Papers

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA),
Nov. 19-Nov. 23, 2008
, San Francisco

Proposed Panel:
People in Motion, Things in Motion: Flexible labor, mobile identity and other

Mathangi Krishnamurthy and Elizabeth LeFlore, The University of Texas at Austin

	Labor forces are increasingly mobile in a world rendered smaller by technology,
infrastructure and global business interests. On the one hand, apocalyptic
theories of global imperialism would have us believe that locality is being
deterritorialized and subjects rendered into productive and flexible
transnational labor by the onslaught of capitalist modernity. Agentive notions,
on the other hand, overdetermine the position of the speaking subject and claim
the reterritorialization of the local in specific instances of cultural
	This panel problematizes the spaces of the transnational as easily identifiable
within one or the other discourse. Alternatively, it tracks mobile subjects and
objects as a means to rethink and reevaluate the prevailing narratives and
analytical frames of an inside and outside, ostensibly separated by boundaries
of nation, time, orientation and difference and arguably connected by the
notion of the transnational. Who are these multiply positioned subjects and how
do they reconcile the impermanence of the spaces they inhabit? What allegiance
do they bear to the objects found in the spaces they move between? What makes
these objects local, global, national or transnational and how do they in turn
forge new desires and practices?
	We contend that ethnographic research makes transparent the contingent,
changing and emerging strategies of labor subjects that traverse the
transnational. It exposes not only the travails but also the pleasures and the
desires imbricated in the process of transnational movement. We invite papers
from scholars whose work explores people and things in motion by posing sites,
events, objects and life histories that simultaneously contest and inform the
normalized “scapes” (Appadurai 2001) of the global economy. A strong
ethnographic focus will be given preference.

Questions can include but are not limited to:

(1) Defining/ Re-defining mobility

(2) The role of mobility in constructing and/or contesting identities

(3) The relationship between technology and the ability to be mobile

(4) Gendering mobility

(5) Media discourses on the lives of mobile subjects

(6) The objects that sustain and energize mobile life

(7) The role of mobility in the stories people tell

Please send abstracts of not more than 250 words and a brief CV to Elizabeth
LeFlore (ehleflore at gmail.com) or Mathangi Krishnamurthy
(mathangi at mail.utexas.edu) by Monday, March 17, 2008.

Mathangi Krishnamurthy
Doctoral Candidate, Dept.of Anthropology
The University of Texas at Austin

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