[URBANTH-L]CFP AAA 2009
A. Scott Catey
catey at ufl.edu
Fri Jan 23 09:23:35 EST 2009
please see the panel abstract and CFP below. Requesting submission
of paper abstracts by 15 Feb 2009, currently seeking section
CALL FOR PAPERS for AAA ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 2009, in PHILADELPHIA
Fixing Presents: Memory Work and the Authoring of the Past in the
In this panel, we seek to interrogate memory as a social practice.
Memory is often relegated to the disciplines of history and
philosophy, and is too often conceived as a byproduct of the
interaction between specific historical events and individual
experiences. Within anthropology, memory has been positioned not
as merely a personal cognitive or emotive process, but as a
collective social practice by which human groups attempt to deal
with the past in the present. Collective memory is used to
construct notions of identity, unite communities and to create
spaces of inclusion. Memory can also be less harmonious, producing
ruptures, fomenting discord, tension, fragmentation and
constituting exclusionary monoliths of belonging, against which
difference is judged, hidden, or eliminated. Ethics, agency,
representation, power, language and other fundamental disciplinary
concerns are thus linked to memory and the processes and practices
of ???memory work,??? and it is these concerns and the analytical
instruments anthropologists deploy to consider memory that are key
objects for this panel.
Memory work is being conducted by state officials, employees of
NGOs and multinational corporations, activists, and lay publics.
Among other initiatives, memory is being practiced as a response
to global transnational processes, through political narrative,
and as a way to constitute and legitimate local, national, and
other forms of identity. Envisioning a future and anchoring
present work in the social objects and events of the past is basic
to memory work. This panel is designed in part to more closely
link the concerns of the discipline with the substantive work of
its practitioners. Accordingly, we will address the processes and
effects of memory work as social practice, the coding and
privileging of social and cultural normativities and the shaping
effects of these normativities for subjective experience in
ethnographic settings as well as in the professional spaces of our
We are seeking papers for the panel that focus on memory as social
practice and the multiple ways in which memory is conjured,
embodied, strategized, used as a response to existing social
conditions, and performed as a political act. Some of the
questions the panel organizers seek to explore include:
1. How do social agents come together to produce memory? What
practices do they employ?
2. How are memories conveyed to publics or particular audiences?
That is, what acts of representation do, or must, occur for
particular forms of memory to achieve dominance, and how do these
particular forms ???earn??? the imprint of the historical as
against other non-dominant or ???folk??? forms?
3. Historical representation is a political act; how is memory
authorized, and by whom? What are the ways by which and conditions
under which authorized forms of memory are inscribed? How do these
inscribed versions endure; that is, what work is done to sustain
authorized forms of memory? What are the prominent narratives of
memory and how are they embodied? What/who gets forgotten and
elided in memory work and memories?
4. What are the ways in which public memories are used as a
political strategy or as an attempt to rework cultural and
symbolic repertoires to achieve specified, intentional ends?
Abstracts must be received by 15 Feb 2009. Please send them to:
Amy Cox (amycox at ufl.edu), or
Scott Catey (catey at ufl.edu)
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