Archive for Conferences & Symposia

Wenner-Gren Symposium #149: The Death of the Secret

L-R: Don Kulick, Cristiana Giordano, Gwyneira Isaac, Tanja Ahlin, Birgitte Sørensen, Robin Boast, Ravi Sundaram, Junko Kitanaka, Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, Susan Erikson, Mark Davis, Sverker Finnström, Lenore Manderson, Sarah Nuttall, Kimberly Theidon, Leslie Aiello, Laurie Obbink

Wenner-Gren Symposium #149, “The Death of the Secret:  The Public and Private in Anthropology,” organized by Lenore Manderson (U. of Witwatersrand/Monash U.), Mark Davis (Monash U.) and Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (Denver Museum of Nature & Science), just recently wrapped up! It was held from March 14-20, 2014, at Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal.

Read the organizer’s statement below, and stay tuned for a future Current Anthropology special issue featuring the papers of this symposium!

 

» Read more..

This January: the 20th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

Longtime readers know that we like to announce the upcoming meetings funded through our Conference & Workshop Grant. This January, the Wenner-Gren Foundation is proud to support the 20th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association!

 

The 20th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

January 12-18, 2014

Siem Reap (Angkor), Cambodia

The underlying rationale of this 20th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA) is to bring together indigenous Indo-Pacific and other, mainly “Western”, scholars to present papers and hold discussions on diverse themes in Indo-Pacific prehistory. As per IPPA’s normal procedure, convenors will organize sessions around topical themes in Indo-Pacific historical anthropology in the broadest sense, including themes/sessions/papers from archaeology, cultural heritage, the natural sciences, comparative linguistics, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology and genetics. The IPPA region of interest extends west to east from Pakistan to Easter Island, and north to south from Siberia to Australasia, and themes, session and papers concerning any part of this area will be welcome.

IPPA congresses are held approximately every 4 years and are always organised with in-country institutions, most recently with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi, Vietnam, in late 2009.  Past co-sponsors have included the National Museum of the Philippines and University of the Philippines in Manila in 2006, Academia Sinica in Taipei in 2002, and with the National Museum of Malaysia in Melaka in 1998. The 20th conference is co-organised with the Royal Academy of Cambodia and the Khmer Archaeological Society.

 

Wenner-Gren Symposium #148: A Success!

Wenner-Gren Symposium #148, Politics of the Urban Poor, wrapped up last month in Italy. Many thanks to all of our wonderful participants!

 

Ground:  Carlos Forment, Melani Cammett, Jonathan Spencer

Kneeling, Seated:  Javier Auyero, Shalini Randeria, Leslie Aiello, Veena Das

Standing:  James Williams, Teresa Caldeira, Harri Englund, Hayder Al-Mohammad, Asef Bayat, Sylvain Perdigon, Valeria Procupez, Fiona Ross, AbdouMaliq Simone, Gerardo Leibner, Harini Amarasuriya, Filip De Boeck

Upcoming October-November Conferences & Workshops

The Origins of Recycling: A Paleolithic Perspective

October 7-10, 2013

Tel Aviv University

In recent years a growing body of evidence regarding human recycling, reusing and resharpening activities in Paleolithic times has accumulated, and there is a growing awareness among scholars towards these aspects of research in Paleolithic studies. It is our intention to gather together scholars in the new field of Paleolithic Recycling and establish, for the first time, coherent lines of inquiry, data analyses and interpretation of recycling behavior in prehistory. The workshop will be focused on presenting new data regarding stone recycling and bone reusing from Lower, Middle and Upper Paleolithic sites from the Old World, as well as relevant case studies from contemporary pre-industrial societies. The publication resulting from the workshop is intended to demonstrate the scale, intensity and characteristics of Paleolithic recycling; provide a methodology for studying evidence for recycling and reusing activities and discuss the adaptive role of recycling and reusing in Paleolithic times.

 

Proto-Globalization in the Indian Ocean World: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

November 7-10, 2013

Jesus College, University of Oxford

The Indian Ocean has emerged as a major topic of interest amongst scholars across a range of disciplines in recent years.  Researchers in fields as diverse as archaeology, genetics, history, linguistics and palaeoenvironmental studies have all explored evidence for precociously early coastal and transoceanic movements of goods, people, ideas, plants and animals in the region.  The ‘Proto-globalisation in the Indian Ocean world’ conference provides an opportunity for these scholars to gather and to critically evaluate the evidence for and implications of long-distance contacts and exchanges in the pre-1000 CE Indian Ocean.  It will consider the goods, technologies and ideas that moved across the ocean in this period, evaluating the possible existence of early globalized commodities, exploring object biographies, and considering the role of cosmopolitan Indian Ocean contacts in transforming societies on the littoral and beyond.  It will look at how cultural transfers were intertwined with extensive movements of plant and animals species both domestic and wild, considering the ecological, agricultural and disease impacts of species translocations, and their implications for the contemporary world in terms of biodiversity and food security.  Finally, it will explore the axes, processes and agents of early Indian Ocean interactions, critically rethinking in particular traditional notions about the drivers and agents of early exchanges and commerce, and drawing attention to the important role of smaller, less centralized and/or more mobile societies in the early Indian Ocean.  The gathering of scholars from a broad range of regions, disciplines and projects will enable discussion, debate and the exploration of synergies, as well as consideration of larger questions about the degree to which the Indian Ocean represented a globalized space in the pre-1000 CE period, the role of data from earlier periods in transforming Eurocentric notions of globalization and the ways that studies of the past might inform our understanding of contemporary globalization.

WGF Symposium #148 – Politics of the Urban Poor

The 148th Wenner-Gren Foundation International Symposium is about to be underway in Pasiano di Pordenone, Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Italy. Read the organizers statement from Veena Das (Johns Hopkins University) and Shalini Randeria (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) below.

We propose a symposium on the modalities of politics in the lives of the poor with specific reference to the urban form. The literature on the urban poor has been strongly shaped by and connected to public policy interventions that generated such internal divisions as those between the deserving and the undeserving poor, or between the proletariat seen as the engine of history and the lumpen proletariat, who are seen as those who are unable to engage in politics at all.  Concepts like social capital moved from academic theorizing to the policy world in the context of framing of policies to help the poor move out of what was called the “poverty trap”.  One of the consequences of this way of seeing the poor is that while agency is given to some kinds of poor, others are seen in policy discourses as populations to be managed through both policing and paternalistic interventions by the state. Though theoretical interventions such as subaltern studies did much to reclaim collective agency on behalf of those who are defined as subordinate, there was a concentration on moments of rebellion. As far as everyday life is concerned, there seems an implicit agreement with Hannah Arendt’s position that the poor are so caught in ensuring basic survival that they cannot exercise the freedom necessary for collective action that she calls the domain of politics. Thus following this kind of a conceptualization problems relating to the poor are seen confined to studies of administration. However, we also do not wish to romanticize the poor but rather in recognizing that poverty might corrode the capacity for collective or individual action, we are interested in more realistic accounts of the functioning of politics in the everyday lives of the poor.

We propose a symposium on the politics of the poor in which both categories – that of the poor and that of politics – are put under pressure conceptually and ethnographically. Inviting anthropologists and scholars from related fields who have who used ethnography in their own research on the urban poor in South Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, we pose the following questions in order to generate comparative ethnographies that can foreground the relation between urban transformations, poverty, and modalities of democratic politics.

First, what is the relation between governmentality and politics in relation to basic amenities such as water, sanitation, electricity, and housing? Can we speak of a politics of need contra Arendt and many others who assume that need belongs to the realm of administration and not politics?

Second, what lines of solidarity and antagonism run within the communities of the poor defined by locality, kinship, and work?  Instead of posing a dualism between the poor seen as unitary collective subjects and another subject (state, market), which stands out and is marked as the oppressor, we might ask how differences internal to the poor are implicated in the forging of political action?

Third, are there forms of inaction that might also count as politics, especially if life has been experienced as continually marked by violence? What kind of theory of action do we need to account, for instance, for political subjectivities that have emerged after civil wars, riots or experiences of displacement? How does decay urban decay and the complete corrosion of institutions, lead to either a negation of politics or forms of collective action (protests, gang violence) that become ends in themselves?

Finally, what kinds of traces are left in the languages that circulate in communities engaged in the kinds of politics that are assumed in the first three questions? How do material traces link with linguistic traces? We want to go beyond such issues as politics of representation and instead ask what kind of affective geographies of communication and expression can we discern in the everyday life of the poor. We are interested in asking whether regional histories and geographies as well as the diversity of intellectual traditions, leads to important differences in the very conceptualization of these issues? In what way do conceptual and political commitments as well as the artifacts through which facts are made visible shape the questions we ask, what questions get asked and what issues get eclipsed? Do regional comparisons generate new questions? We are not committed beforehand to establish that the poor exercise agency or that the lines of conflict are clearly drawn between state and community; or that democracy has failed; or that the poor are so caught up in survival that the only forms of politics available to them are forms of clientelism. These are open questions and we hope that the symposium will show many pathways through which such issues can be addressed with innovations in how we collect empirical data and how conceptual innovations might be made in relation to the pressure of the conjoining of facts and values. Since the ethnographic method is now used across disciplines, the symposium would also give us an opportunity to reflect on potential contribution as well as the limitations of this method.

Paper Titles

AL-MOHAMMAD  Poverty beyond Disaster in Postinvasion Iraq:  Ethics and the ‘Rough Ground’ of the Everyday

 

AMARASURIYA   “With That, Discipline Will Also Come to Them”:  The Politics of the Urban Poor in

& SPENCER          Postwar Colombo

 

AUYERO               The Politics of Interpersonal Violence at the Urban Margins

 

BAYAT                   Plebeians of the Arab Spring

 

CALDEIRA            Social Movements, Cultural Production, and Protests:  São Paulo’s Shifting Political            Landscape

                                    

CAMMETT             Sectarianism and the Ambiguities of Welfare in Lebanon

 

DAS & WALTON     Political Leadership and the Urban Poor:  Local Histories

 

DE BOECK            “Poverty” and the Politics of Syncopation.  Urban Examples from Congo-Kinshasa.

ENGLUND             Poetic Justice and the Proletariat that Never Was

FORMENT             Plebeian Neoliberalism and the Political Practices of the Ungoverned: Buenos         Aires’s La Salada and Emergent Forms of Subaltern Democratic Life

LEIBNER               HaTikva Encampment – The Ambiguous Agency of the Marginalized                                   

                       

PERDIGON            On Making Poverty Sensible. Three Sketches from the Palestinian Refugee Camps of Lebanon

PROCUPEZ           The Need for Patience – Or – (The Politics of Overcoming Housing Emergency in Buenos Aires)

ROSS                     Residing/Resisting?:  Raw Life and the Politics of the Urban Poor

SIMONE                 The Urban Poor and Their Ambivalent Exceptionalities:  Some Notes from Jakarta

Upcoming August-September Conferences & Workshops

A list of late summer programs supported by WGF!

17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences

“Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds”

August 5-10, 2013

Manchester, United Kingdom

Our aim is a world congress that will be an intellectually memorable milestone in thie history of the IUAES and at the same time permit truly global participation by the world community of anthropologists. We aim to reflect on the state-of-the-art work across all the sub-fields and interdisciplinary interfaces of anthropology, and to foster expression of different regional and paradigmatic perspectives to promote constitutive debate and dialogue across the boundaries of sub-field specialization and nationality. We will encourage anthropologists applying their skills outside the academy to contribute, including workshops addressed to dialogue between practitioners and academics. By being both inclusive and integrative, the congress aims to contribute to the development of the IUAES, its specialist commissions, and world anthropology generally, and also to provide the basis for a range of landmark publications.

 

3rd International Congress of Amazonian Archaeology

September 8-14, 2013

Quito, Ecuador

The International Congress of Amazonian Archaeology or EIAA (Encuentro Internacional de Arqueología Amazoníca) is the only academic meeting on the ancient past of the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It brings together most of –if not all– the archaeologists working on this theme, but also other scientists of different fields (anthropologists, ecologists, historians, geographers, botanists, archaeobotanists, pedologists, etc.) concerned by Amazonia. Over the years, EIAA meetings have become the major venue for specialists of Amazonian precolonial past, where the current topics are discussed and the most recent data and results of current research are presented for this vast region. The 85 invited scholars are recognized authorities in the field. More than 300 participants are expected to attend this international Congress. The event will be organized in single sessions opened to the public during 6 days. There will be a keynote speech every morning followed by 3 symposia and another keynote speech at the end of the day. Parallel to the sessions, there will be scientific posters and two archaelogical exhibitions featuring research results from Ecuador’s Upper Amazon. Three books on the archaeology of the Ecuadorian Amazon will be presented during the Congress. Some of the papers will be published in a peer-review volume at the end of the Congress.

 

Paleobiology, Taxonomy, And Paleoecology Of Early Australopithecus: A Collaborative Approach To Synthesizing The Evidence (workshop)

September 20-21, 2013

Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The paleobiology, paleoecology, taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of species known for the hominin genus Australopithecus have been subjects of great interest and research since the naming of the genus in 1925.  However, different paleoanthropologists have reached at different, sometimes contradicting, conclusions based on fossil specimens readily available for them to study. One of the major hurdles in the study of human origins and evolution is the fact that paleoanthropologists working on original fossil materials of early human ancestors rely entirely on the fossils that they recover from their own study area. This is a major problem in attempts to answer questions regarding early Australopithecus paleobiology, phylogeny, adaptation, habitat use and preferences. Inter- and Intra-regional comparisons are almost impossible. This is largely because paleoanthropologists don’t usually have access in a timely fashion to unpublished fossil materials collected by other researchers from other sites of similar age. As a result, they cannot effectively and comprehensively address the broader research questions mentioned above. It is arguable that most of the disagreements in interpretations of the fossil record are no doubt artefacts of the lack of common approach and collaboration toward tackling research questions. Thus, collaboration among paleoanthropologists would substantially improve knowledge of human origins and evolution and also help to standardize the methodology used in the discovery and interpretation of the fossil record. The main objective of the proposed symposium/workshop is to bring together many paleoanthropologists working at different African sites and create a consortium by which each participating project makes its fossil material available for the other project members on a timely manner and address the various outstanding research questions collectively. This symposium will definitely set new standards of collaboration in paleoanthropology.

Upcoming July Conferences

Biennial Meeting of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) “Thirty Years On: Reflections and Retrospections on Southern African Archaeology Since 1983

July 3-7, 2013

University of Botswana in Gaborone

The ASAPA biennial conference brings together professional archaeologists from the region and the world at large whose research interests are in southern African archaeology. The 2013 conference will be the second to be held in Botswana, the first being in 1983, and will provide an environment where scholars and students of archaeology can discuss research and share ideas. It is also an atmosphere whereby archaeologists, heritage managers and related fields from univeristies, museums, CRM practitioners can engage in meaningful dialogue on issues of academic, practice and policy development. The programme includes oral and poster presentations as well as round-table sessions.

At the time when the conference was first held in Botswana in 1983, archaeology was not taught as an independent subject in the University of Botswana and at a regional level most of the practitioners were from outside the continent whilst in South Africa there was political instability. This conference will thus give archaeologists who were present at the first conference a time to reflect, retrospect and share their experiences with the younger generations. It will also give those who were not present a chance to learn and share with the archaeology elders their new and old experiences and finally forge the way forward in terms of new research directions and challenges for archaeology in the 21st century.

 

X Reunión de Antropología del Mercosur (XRAM)

July 10-12, 2013

School of Philosophy and Humanities, National University of Cordoba, Argentina

This meeting aims at contributing to the development of Social Anthropology in South America’s Mercosur community. Every meeting of RAM has witnessed the increasing participation of anthropologists from the Americas – particularly the United States – and Europe. The challenge for the upcoming years is to widen international links to embrace Asia and Africa. RAM is, to conclude, a meeting of particular worldwide interest for the development, strengthening and legitimation of Social Anthropology in South America. It is, therefore, a major event for the discipline and the social sciences, lasting international impact. This means great commitment and positioning opportunities for international legitimacy for the academic units that organize the RAM.

The RAM does not specify a unique discussion area. It looks forward to give expression to the widest range of research topics and interests of anthropologists from the various academic units of the Southern Cone. This makes the RAM a conference that promotes the development of social anthropology in its most diverse and general dimensions. That is why the event is itself a sampler of topics and research areas representative in this region of the globe.

 

The Future Of Ethnographic Museums

July 19-21, 2013

Keble College and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Ethnographic museums have a long and distinguished history but they have also been the subject of criticism and complaint, to the extent that in the post-colonial era they have undergone something of an identity crisis. In response many of them have been renamed, remodelled or even entirely replaced by spectacular new buildings in which their collections are now presented as examples of ‘World Art’. Perhaps as a result of these alterations, visitor numbers have begun to increase. But many questions remain unanswered about how ethnographic museums should communicate with the diverse audiences they seek to address, how they interact with the politics of the nations and communities in which they are located and the global context in which they increasingly operate via digital technologies. By assembling an international gathering of anthropologists and museum professionals this conference will be the first to tackle the question: What is the Future of Ethnographic Museums? Speakers include James Clifford, Ruth Phillips, Sharon Macdonald, Wayne Modest, Corinne Kratz, Kavita Singh, Annie Coombes and Nicholas Thomas. In addition to discussion and debate, the conference features a series of art and music events in the unique environment of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

 

 

Upcoming June Conferences & Workshops

June is just around the corner and with it comes two great new WGF-sponsored programs; one workshop and one conference. Let’s learn a bit more about them.

 

Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Mobile Phones

June 4-7, 2013

The National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. (administered by the George Washington University Department of Anthropology)

This workshop builds on and integrates emerging but distinct literatures on the social, cultural, linguistic, and material aspects of mobile phones. We synthesize these approaches by focusing on three innovative and cross-cutting themes: 1) Inscription – How do mobile phones materialize and fix meanings using acoustic, visual and tactile resources? 2) Intimacy – How do mobile phones enable and challenge the boundaries of privacy, selfhood and personal desire as they connect us to ever wider social networks? 3) Fetishization – How does the materiality of mobile phones mediate and privilege certain aspects of a user’s devotion to their phone? This workshop will invite a collection of established and emerging scholars to Washington, DC in early June of 2013 for three days to present and discuss theoretically informed case studies that examine and challenge these themes. This workshop will not only produce a scholarly volume of essays, but will also provide the theoretical foundation for a planned exhibit on mobile phones at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

 

Resilience and Vulnerability in Hunter-Gatherer Research (10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies)

June 25-28, 2013

University of Liverpool

The 10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies, CHaGS 10, provides a forum for the research results that have since emerged in a field which continues to be one of the few domains in anthropology where research across all four anthropological subdisciplines takes place. The main theme of the conference to be held in Liverpool, UK, is ‘Resilience and Vulnerability’ which is highly relevant to hunter-gatherer research but also more generally in a world struggling with economic, cultural and ecological turmoil. In its 20 panels, CHaGS 10 will seek to show what the world in general and hunter-gatherer research in particular might learn from some of the most resilient but also most vulnerable of societies past and present. The conference will include fresh empirical input on the current state of hunter-gatherer research in the context of resilience and vulnerability, and it will also provide room for discussions concerning methodological innovations for current and future research in this domain that has decreasing opportunities for conventional field research. There is no anthropological association, nor any other conference that would be in the position to fulfil this role and ChaGS 10 will provide the opportunity to create the institutional tools, in terms of an academic organization and in terms of a regular publication outlet, that ensure the continuity of hunter-gatherer research into the future.

 

To learn more about the Wenner-Gren Foundation and our Conference & Workshop Grant Program, please visit our Programs page. And check back for more upcoming conferences in the summer months!

 

WGF Symposium: The Anthropology of Christianity (AUDIO)

Symposium participants, Sintra

Last month, a group of anthropologists gathered at Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal to convene the latest Wenner-Gren Foundation symposium, “The Anthropology of Christianity: Unity, Diversity, New Directions”. Since the 1950′s, the foundation has convened more than 140 of these meetings between small groups of invited scholars to foster intensive discussion and debate around key sites of contention within the field, using a rigorous format first developed at the Foundation’s original retreats in Austria. Beginning in 2010, symposia have resulted in special gold-colored supplementary editions of Current Anthropology, with 100% of content freely available as open access scholarship.

While the special issue for this particular symposium will be forthcoming, organizer Joel Robbins of the University of California – San Diego has prepared a statement to capture the thrust of the symposium and offer a glimpse of what to expect when the special issue rolls off the presses.

And in the meantime, listen to an interview with Dr. Robbins conducted by our president Leslie C. Aiello as part of the Annette B. Weiner lecture series at New York University.

» Read more..

Upcoming December-January Conferences

We bring you another slate of Wenner-Gren sponsored conferences to round out 2012 and bring us into the new year.

9th European Society for Oceanists: “The Power of the Pacific: Values, Materials, Images”

December 5-8, 2012

Bergen, Norway

“In this 9th conference of the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) attention will be paid to how the Pacific region still presents itself as viable in the contemporary world, despite early predictions of ‘vanishing cultures’, ‘loss of value’ or ‘disappearing worlds’.  ‘The Power of the Pacific’ is meant to lead the participants to present analyses of how that viability is possible. Inter-island relations, subsistence agriculture, fishing, hunting and gathering, village based social, political and religious structures are all still key for evaluating the power of the Pacific, and we still need analyses of how these structures are managed and maintained. A crucial issue is how the peoples of the Pacific are handling, in the region’s own multiple ways, challenges posed by resource scarcity, population growth, urbanization, climate change, pressures from international corporations and development agencies, and new politics of state control and foreign intervention.”

 

Society for Historical Archaeology: “Globalization, Immigration, Trasformation”

January 9-12, 2013

Leicester, United Kingdom

“The Society for Historical Archaeology is the world’s foremost scholarly organization for historical archaology, with a membership that reports on research from across the globe. As historical archaeologists our focus is particularly on the archaeology of the modern world, and on the transformations brought about by colonialism and capitalism. Drawing upon the broader anthropological literature, we have adopted the theme “Globalization, Immigration, Transformation’ for the 2013 meeting. Our aims with the meeting are to emphasize global connections in the study of historical archaeology, past and present, and to include scholars who would not ordinarily attend the meetings in order to explore these issues.”

 

7th World Archaeological Conference (WAC-7)

January 14-18, 2013

The Dead Sea, Kingdom of Jordan

“The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is the only representative, fully international organization of practicing archaeologists committed to an inclusive, multivocal interpretation of the human past. WAC encourages open dialogue among all people concerned about the past, including scholars from under-represented parts of the world, First Nations people, and descendent communities whose pasts are told by archaeogists. The WAC-7 conference offers discussion of new archaeological research as well as archaeological policy, practice and politics.”