Webinar: New Tools for ‘Distanced’ Anthropological Research: Webscraping and Ethnography of Digital Cultures in/of Africa

On February 15th, 16th and 25th the Wenner-Gren Foundation is sponsoring a series of webinars entitled, New Tools for ‘Distanced’ Anthropological Research: Webscraping and Ethnography of Digital Cultures in/of Africa, organized by Serena Stein, Wageningen University & Research, and Louisa Lombard, Yale University.

This event is a Webinar Tutorial on Webscraping for researchers and students with little prior
experience, and a Roundtable on Digital Ethnography about Africa and by African scholars.

Part I: The Webinar will introduce beginners to the possibilities of webscraping as a tool for
digital research. How can webscraping help launch a research project, complement in-person fieldwork, and triangulate findings? What are limitations and technical, analytical, and ethical concerns? The tutorial presumes no prior experience in webscraping, and will use ethnographic-friendly examples. This will be led by Kevin McElwee of the Princeton University Center for Digital Humanities.

Part II: The Roundtable convenes an exciting group of researchers and scholars on African digital cultures and social media, including the technological, regulatory, political, ethical, and cultural context of African digital lives as people access and innovate online.

To register for these events please click the links below:

February 15th 11:00 AM (EST) – Register here.

Februrary 16th 11:00 AM (EST) – Register here.

February 25th 5:00 PM (EST) – Register here.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Julie Soleil Archambault, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia
University

Bio: Julie Soleil Archambault is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the
Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. She received her
PhD in Anthropology for the School of Oriental and African Studies (U. of London), and
is the author of Mobile Secrets: Youth, Intimacy and the Politics of Pretense in
Mozambique (2017). She recently completed a project on the political and affective
economies of cement in Mozambique, and is currently working on a book project on the
anthropology of sweat. She is also co-editor of AFRICA: Journal of the International
African Institute.

Jess Auerbach, Department of Social Anthropology, North-West University, South
Africa

Bio: Jess Auerbach is the author of From Water to Wine: Becoming Middle Class in
Angola. She is Program Director for the School of Social Sciences at North West
University, and writes regularly for public media around the world. She is currently
working on two book projects, Conscripted Communalism which explores ethnicity and
politics in Mauritius, and Everyday Kindness, a popular book on how South Africans
have supported one another through the Covid-19 pandemic. She holds a PhD from
Stanford University.

Chambi Chachage, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS),
Princeton University

Bio: Chambi Chachage (@Udadisi) is the African Humanities Postdoctoral Research
Associate and Lecturer at Princeton University where he teaches a course on Health,
Race, and Power in Africa in the Digital Age. He is the coeditor, with Annar Cassam, of
a book on Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere and an article on From Citizenship
to Netizenship: Blogging for social change in Tanzania. He is also a founding blogger of
Udadisi and history editor of The Africa I Know (TAIK).

Nicky Falkof, Department of Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Bio: Nicky Falkof (@barbrastrident) is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has a PhD in Humanities and
Cultural Studies from the London Consortium, University of London. She is the author of
The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa
(2015), and co-editor of Anxious Joburg: The Inner Lives of a Global South City (2020)
and Intimacy and Injury: In the Wake of #MeToo in India and South Africa (forthcoming
2021). Her work focuses on race, anxiety and the media in the urban global south.

Divine Fuh, HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town

Bio: Divine Fuhis a social anthropologist from Cameroon, and Director of HUMA –
Institute for Humanities Africa at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on
the politics of suffering and smiling, particularly on how urban youth seek ways of
smiling in the midst of their suffering. He has carried out research in Cameroon,
Botswana, South Africa and Senegal. His new research focuses on AI and the ethics of
being; and on the political economy of Pan-African knowledge production.

Larissa Kojoue, African Studies Center, Leiden University

Bio: Larissa Kojoué is a Cameroonian based researcher in political science and assistant
lecturer in political studies at the University of Buea Cameroon. She is a research
associate at the University of Paris/IRD/CEPED. Research areas include: Health public
policies, State and citizenship, digital cultures, gender, sexualities and human rights. She
is the author of “Tu seras Docteur.e mon enfant. African PHD student Experiences and
Research perspectives:” https://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=livre&no=58274. Her current work focuses on Digital cultures, gender, sexuality and power dynamics in Contemporary Cameroon.

Sibel Kusimba, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida

Bio: Sibel Kusimba is an anthropologist at the University of South Florida. She has conducted anthropological and archaeological fieldwork in Kenya on topics ranging from inter-ethnic cooperation, to leadership, to environmental change, to the origins of trade. Since 2012 she has explored the impact of digital money and digital finance in Kenya. Her book Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution explores digital money in Kenya, a leading site for financial technology. The book describes the myriad new uses and practices with digital money, including e-money transfer, digital loans, and crowdfunding. Professor Kusimba’s mobile money research has also been published in the peer-reviewed journals Information Technology in International Development, The African Studies Review, and Economic Anthropology. Her work is also featured in an IMTFI video and a webinar Wednesday through the American Anthropological Association. She has spoken to The East African, The Voice of America, and Business Daily Africa about mobile money in Kenya and her research has been featured in Next Billion.

Azeb Madebo, Communication, University Southern California

Bio: Azeb Madebo is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Southern California’s
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Her research interests and work
have centered topics regarding development, civic imagination and networked
mobilization in Ethiopia and its diaspora. Her dissertation fieldwork and research, funded
by USC’s Graduate School Research Enhancement Fellowship, will consider the
relationship between imagination, civic engagement, technology (social media), and
discourses of futurity within Ethiopia.

Dani Madrid-Morales, University of Houston

Bio: Dani Madrid-Morales (@DMadrid_M) is an assistant professor of journalism at the
Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, University of Houston. He studies global
political communication (State-sponsored news, political mis/disinformation, social
media use), with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia. He teaches courses on
media and globalization, quantitative research methods, and international mass
communication at the University of Houston, and computational text analysis at National
University of Singapore. Dani is currently working on developing an live multilingual
database of African digital news content for text mining.

Kevin McElwee, Research Software Developer, Princeton University Center for Digital
Humanities

Bio:At the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University, Kevin is a programmer
helping professors and graduate students with their data-driven research. He’s also
building algorithms and neural networks that mimic artists, like Bach and Mondrian,
exploring how artificial intelligence will challenge what we value in art and researching
how automation can be used as a source of inspiration. Before Princeton, he worked in
the energy sector, building machine learning models that increase efficiency on the
electrical grid. He freelances as a data journalist.

Cierra Robson, Harvard University

Bio: Cierra Robson is the Associate Director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab at
Princeton University where she guides research teams in partnership with community
organizations to explore how data can be retooled for racial justice. Additionally, Cierra
is a doctoral student in the Sociology and Social Policy program at Harvard University
where she is a Malcolm Hewitt Wiener PhD Research Fellow in Poverty and Justice.
Broadly, her research explores the ways in which technological advancements both
reinforce and revolutionize racial inequality in the United States, particularly within the
criminal justice system. She holds a BA in African American Studies from Princeton
University, where she specialized in studies of race and public policy and pursued a
minor in Technology and Society.

Carmeliza Rosário, Social and Development Anthropology, University of
Bergen

Bio: Carmeliza is a social and development anthropologist with a focus on women and
vulnerable groups. She is a PhD candidate at University of Bergen and associate
researcher at Kaleidoscopio. Her current research interests are knowledge production in
and on Mozambique. Together with researchers at Kaleidoscopio, she has been
monitoring social media regarding political and social commentary. She is also an
associate researcher affiliated with CMI, where she is part of the project “Political
determinants of sexual and reproductive health: Criminalisation, health impacts and game
changers.” As part of this project the research team has conducted webscraping for news
and articles in the media around abortion and LGBT issues.

Alette Schoon, senior lecturer at the School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University

Bio: Alette’s research projects include producing inserts for SABC2 on culture and development, educating and training professional journalists in new approaches to TV News and exploring the impact of mobile media. Previous research explored how media-savvy hip-hop artists from low-income neighbourhoods use their mobile phones in conjunction with computers and laptops to produce innovative media ecologies.

Wendy Willems, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of Department, Department of Media and Communications, The London School of Economics and Political Science

Bio: Wendy Willems also serves as Programme Director for the MSc Global Media and Communications (LSE and University of Cape Town). Her research expertise includes global digital culture and social change; urban communication; postcolonial/decolonial approaches to media and communication; popular culture; performance and politics in Africa; media culture and neoliberalism in the Global South.

ORGANIZERS

Serena Stein, Sociology of Development & Change and Rural Sociology, Wageningen
University & Research

Bio: Serena is an anthropologist and researcher at Wageningen University & Research in
The Netherlands. She is preparing a manuscript called Kindred Frontiers based on
research following smallholder farmers and socioecological changes during Brazil’s drive
for agribusiness expansion in Mozambique over the past decade. New projects examine
evidentiary and racial politics around carbon sequestration in soil and regenerative
farming movements; multimedia approaches to commodity frontiers; and a study of
farmers in the United States in the pandemic. Serena is co-organizer of the Mangrove
CoLAB, supported by the SSRC’s Indian Ocean Transregional Collaboratory, which
brings together Mozambican and Indian scholars and practitioners to investigate linkages
in extraction, agrarian change and coastal restoration across the Global South.

Louisa Lombard, Department of Anthropology, Yale University

Bio: Louisa Lombard is an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University. She
conducts ethnographic and historical research on conflict, peacebuilding and
peacekeeping, rebellion, access to justice/rule of law, migration, and conservation,
primarily in Central Africa. She is the author of two solo-authored monographs, State of
Rebellion: Violence and Intervention in the Central African Republic (Zed/Chicago,
2016) and Hunting Game: Politics in the Central African Interior (Cambridge, 2020).
She is currently working on three research projects: a study of violence and religion in
sub-Saharan Africa; a comparative study of the experiences of Central African migrants
and refugees within Central Africa and in Greece, and a study of how military
peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians in the midst of violent conflict understand
their work and the moral dilemmas it entails.

 

Webinar 12/9 and 12/10: Fecundações Cruzadas: concebendo corpo-pensamento entre filosofias ameríndias e epistemologias transfeministas

On December 9th and 10th the Wenner-Gren Foundation in partnership with Revista de Estudos Indígenas/Ethnology Research Center of Campinas State University (CPEI/Unicamp), Amerindian Studies Center of University of São Paulo (CEstA/USP), and the Research Group on Anthropology of the Body of Federal University of São Paulo (AnCA-UNIFESP), will be presenting, “Fecundações Cruzadas: concebendo corpo-pensamento entre filosofias ameríndias e epistemologias transfeministas”.

Organized by Lucas da Costa Maciel, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Bru Pereira, Independent Scholar, and Diego Madi Dias, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Be sure to check out a livestream of the webinars here. No registration is required.

ABOUT THE WEBINARS:

In this webinar, participants will discuss the future of anthropological reflections regarding the academic production of Amerindian ethnology. In an effort to explore the possibilities that arise from a conceptual “contact zone” between Amerindian philosophies and transfeminist thought, the conversation will bring together modes of perception and knowledge that decenter the paradigm of Cartesian rationalism that is often at the heart of the project of modernity. While there are very real differences between these two world views, the potential for imaginative practices that facilitate the generation of shared futures is enhanced by bringing them together. We aim to expand the conversation around the possible connections between these two conceptual universes, with the hope of creating a community of researchers who engage in the work of building a shared dialogue and research agenda based on the possibilities of cross-fertilization between them.

 

Programa do Webinário
Fecundações Cruzadas: concebendo corpo-pensamento entre filosofias ameríndias e epistemologias transfeministas 

Dias 09 e 10/12/2020
Transmissão online: https://is.gd/fecunda
Nenhuma inscrição é necessária
Idiomas: Português e Espanhol
Organização: Bru Pereira, Lucas Maciel e Diego Madi Dias

09/12
 
10:00  CONTATO – Sobre Fecundações Cruzadas
Bru Pereira (Unifesp)
Lucas Maciel (USP)
Diego Madi Dias (USP)

10:30 CONEXÃO #1 – Arte drag e contra-colonialidade
Maximiliano Mamani / Bartolina Xixa
Mediação: Lucas Maciel (USP)

14:00 ENCONTRO #1
Amanda Signori (Unifesp)
Thiago Oliveira (USP)
Diógenes Cariaga (UEMS)
Lucas Maciel (USP)
Mediação: Diego Madi Dias (USP)

17:30 CONEXÃO #2Retomada Wigudun
Yineth Muñoz (Comunidad Wigudun Galu)
Mediação: Diego Madi Dias (USP)

10/12
 
09:00  CONEXÃO #3 – Arte e Experimentação
Sebastián Calfuqueo (Colectivo Mapuche Rangiñtulewfü)
Mediação: Lucas Maciel (USP)

10:30 ENCONTRO #2
Melvin Aït Aïssa (EHESS)
Fabiana Maizza (UFPE)
Bru Pereira (Unifesp)
Mediação: Lucas Maciel (USP)

14:00 ENCONTRO #3
Tanaíra Sobrinho (UFMS)
Enoc Merino (UFRJ)
Diego Madi Dias (USP)
Mediação: Bru Pereira (Unifesp)

17:30 CONEXÃO #4 – Descentrar o humano
Antonio Calibán Catrileo (Comunidad Catrileo+Carrión)
Mediação: Bru Pereira (Unifesp)

O Webinário é um esforço de explorar aproximações ainda inéditas entre dois universos conceituais: as filosofias ameríndias e as epistemologias transfeministas. Reconhecendo suas devidas diferenças, os dois campos mencionados compartilham de uma capacidade profícua de engajamento com práticas imaginativas que permitem vislumbrar outros futuros (in)comuns, de modo que a interface entre eles potencializa seu horizonte criativo. O objetivo do webinário é explorar uma “zona de contato” entre o pensamento ameríndio e o pensamento transfeminista, aproximando modos de percepção e de conhecimento dissidentes em relação ao racionalismo e à normalização moderno-ocidentais. Com este seminário se quer ampliar a conversa em torno das conexões possíveis entre esses dois universos conceituais.

Por filosofias ameríndias queremos exprimir os estilos de criatividade e pensamento correspondentes aos povos ameríndios, uma multiplicidade de formas de engajamento com problemas de ordem conceitual e material. Ao mesmo tempo em que desafiam a metafísica do Ser, tais filosofias parecem se dedicar à heterogeneidade, à multiplicidade e à propagação no nível da experiência pessoal. Se existem muitos mundos possíveis, esses mundos estão sempre relacionados a pessoas determinadas. Mundo para quem?, então. No centro das reflexões ameríndias está a possibilidade de se tornar outro, devir que se administra por meio das tecnologias corporais e de pensamento. As filosofias ameríndias estão marcadas por uma relacionalidade radical que coloca a identidade a serviço da diferença. Nesse contexto, os binarismos e oposições contrastivas são revogáveis ou provisórias, muitas vezes um recurso para modificar e proliferar.

Por epistemologias transfeministas buscamos sintetizar implicações sobre o modo de se produzir conhecimento a partir de uma perspectiva situada na experiência e no pensamento queer, nos estudos transviados e na crítica aos modos binários de pensamento que herdaram das movimentações trans uma forma própria de interrogar as normas, explorando as falhas, as intermitências, as linhas de fuga e os modos de (r)existência forjados por meio de saídas criativas frente àquilo que nos impede de seguir. Imaginamos a perspectiva epistemológica transfeminista a partir de uma dupla desconexão: primeiro uma desconexão analítica e experiencial com a heterossexualidade compulsória; em segundo lugar, uma desconexão semiótica e material com a “naturalidade” da diferença sexual. Essas duas desconexões permitem, enfim, instaurar novas conectividades.

Como resultado, esperamos que o seminário abra e impulsione caminhos possíveis para as conexões entre os dois campos de pensamento mencionados. Esperamos que a conversa inspire problematizações sobre a “consciência de si” que organiza a prática antropológica em termos epistemológicos. Este esforço reconhece, em primeiro lugar, a necessidade de deslocar sujeitos de enunciação e recepção pressupostos no conhecimento antropológico que conduzem a relações masculinistas, heteronormalizantes, raciais e coloniais, entre outras coisas. Esta discussão se faz imprescindível no momento em que o processo de democratização do acesso e da produção de conhecimento antropológico se encontra em risco, tanto no Brasil, quanto nos demais países das Américas. Por outro lado, parte da necessidade de simetrizar e pluralizar a antropologia, tendo em vista a presença fundamental e cada vez mais acentuada de pares indígenas, queer e negros, o que exige um recalibramento da partilha epistemológica por trás das práticas antropológicas. Este seminário demanda, assim, um corpo-pensamento que excede a heteronorma que dá contornos à tradição disciplinar e às formas convencionais de descrição antropológica.

Article: Ibrahima Thiaw

You won’t want to miss reading Ibrahima Thiaw’s recently published article, “Archaeology of Two Pandemics and Teranga Aesthetic”, in the newest issue of African Archaeological Review. In the article Dr. Thiaw shows how “the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how coloniality and racism are endemic to modern society” and reveals “the relevance of the archives, including the archaeological record, as usable resources for managing the problems of our times”.

In addition, keep an eye out for the upcoming issue of Current Anthropology on “Atlantic Slavery and the Making of the Modern World”, co-edited by Dr. Thiaw.

Conference Program Associate Position Announcement

 

Conference Program Associate
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc.
New York, NY

The Wenner-Gren Foundation is a private operating foundation dedicated to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world.  Located in New York City, it is one of the major international funding sources for anthropological research and is actively engaged with the anthropological community through its grant, fellowship, conference, publication, and capacity building programs. We are committed to playing a leadership role in anthropology.  We help anthropologists advance anthropological knowledge, build sustainable careers, and amplify the impact of anthropology within the wider world. We are dedicated to broadening the conversation in anthropology to reflect the full diversity of the field.

The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees and seeks to recruit from a broad pool of talented candidates. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply for this position. Addressing the precarity of anthropology and anthropologists is a key element of our mission, which we will take into account in the selection process.


Position Description

 The Conference Program Associate is responsible for all aspects of Wenner-Gren’s broad slate of academic gatherings.  As an integral member of a small, hardworking staff, the Associate oversees the Conference and Workshop Program, which provides funding to organizers of small working sessions and major international meetings, and works with the President to host Wenner-Gren’s Symposia and Seminars, which are designed to foster new conversations in anthropology and lead the discipline into new terrain.  The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree in anthropology, be intellectually curious and discerning, and have an expansive vision of the discipline.  This individual will also be exceedingly well-organized and collegial, and have experience executing the wide range of administrative tasks essential to making an academic meeting a success.  The Conference Program Associate must be an excellent writer, have extraordinary interpersonal skills, and enjoy serving and collaborating with a diverse community of scholars and professionals.

Key Responsibilities

  • Oversee Conference and Workshop Grant Program:
    • Field inquiries.
    • Participate in application review process, collate results, and rank proposals.
    • Cooperate with President in final selection.
    • Communicate results with applicants.
    • Administer grants and evaluate final reports.
    • Update web information and application materials.
    • Participate in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Oversee Wenner-Gren Symposia:
    • Publicize program and field inquiries
    • Receive and circulate letters of intent with President and Advisory Council.
    • Collect, collate, and circulate feedback from Advisory Council.
    • Lead discussion of proposed themes at Advisory Council meeting.
    • Cooperate with President in theme selection and the recruitment of organizers.
    • Research possible sites, cooperate with President in venue selection, and manage all communications with hotels and vendors.
    • Organize virtual and in person meetings with organizers. Lead discussion of format, venue, and process for refining the theme and selecting participants and paper topics.
    • Manage communications with participants and organizers.
    • Manage travel arrangements for participants and organizers.
    • Collaborate with President and organizers to plan supplemental activities.
    • Join President in representing the Foundation at event. Document proceedings.  Serve as liaison for hotel management and vendors.  Take responsibility for all logistical arrangements and address any issues that arise.
    • Oversee preparation of Symposium papers for publication in Current Anthropology. Recruit reviewers and oversee review process.  Manage deadlines.  Coordinate with organizers, journal editors and staff.
    • Update web information.
    • Participate in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Oversee Wenner-Gren Seminars:
    • Publicize program and field inquiries.
    • Receive and circulate letters of intent with President and Advisory Council.
    • Collect, collate, and circulate feedback from Advisory Council.
    • Lead discussion of proposed topics at Advisory Council meeting.
    • Cooperate with President in theme selection and recruitment of organizers.
    • Research possible sites, cooperate with President in venue selection, and manage all communications with hotels and vendors.
    • Research and brainstorm with President on possible formats.
    • Organize virtual and in person meetings with organizers. Lead discussion of format, venue, and theme and help the group arrive at a process for developing a list of senior participants, a process for recruiting junior participants, and a description of the roles each participant will play.
    • Manage recruitment of junior participants.
    • Manage communications with participants and organizers.
    • Manage travel arrangements for participants and organizers.
    • Collaborate with President and organizers to plan supplemental activities.
    • Join President in representing the Foundation at event. Document proceedings.  Serve as liaison for hotel management and vendors.  Take responsibility for all logistical arrangements and address any issues that arise.
    • Coordinate follow-up.
    • Update web information.
    • Collaborate with President in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Assist with the Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grant Programs:
    • Participate in identification of reviewers.
    • Participate in internal review process.
    • Use data on applications to identify possible Symposium and Seminar themes.

Qualifications and Experience

  • PhD or ABD in anthropology or closely aligned discipline.
  • Track record of service to anthropology.
  • Track record of success in fostering conversation in diverse groups.
  • Proven commitment to an inclusive vision of anthropology.
  • Professional experience in event planning and management.
  • Self-starter with a high degree of energy and careful attention to detail.
  • Highly flexible, creative problem solver, with a strong ability to multi-task.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent social media skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills.
  • High level of professionalism and demonstrated good judgement.
  • Superb organizational and time management skills.
  • Proficient or advanced skill in Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, and Outlook).
  • Proficient skill or willingness to learn Salesforce and other event management tools.

Compensation

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.  Benefits package includes 401(k) plan, health insurance, group term life and disability insurance, generous paid time off and flexible work arrangements.

 

How to Apply

Applications for this position are being accepted online via Ziprecruiter.com, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/job/db68ca79  You will be asked to upload your curriculum vitae or resume, a letter of interest, and salary requirements to the site. In the letter of interest, please comment on how your skills and experience are a good match for this position and where you learned about the position.

Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2020.  Due to the expected high volume of applications for this position, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.  Please note that candidates must be authorized to work lawfully in the United States. Wenner-Gren does not provide visa sponsorship for employment.

The ideal start date is June 1, 2020, but the Foundation will be flexible to accommodate the selected candidate’s circumstances.

 

Symposium #160 Cultures of Fermentation

From October 11 – 17, 2019 Wenner-Gren returned to Palácio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal for the 160th Symposium, “Cultures of Fermentation”, organized by Mark Aldenderfer (University of California, Merced), Christina Warinner (Harvard University and Max Planck Institute for Human History), Jessica Hendy (York University), and Matthäus Rest (Max Planck Institute for Human History). Be on the lookout for a future issue of Current Anthropology for this meeting’s papers, available to all 100% Open-Access.

Seated: Megan Tracy, Salla Sariola, Katie Amato, Jamie Lorimer, Heather Paxson.
Standing: Eben Kirksey, Shinya Shoda, Eva Rosenstock, Matthäus Rest, Dolly Kikon, Mark Aldenderfer, Roberta Raffaetà, Rob Dunn, Danilyn Rutherford, Björn Reichhardt, Christina Warinner, Oliver Craig, Daniel Münster, Jessica Hendy. Not pictured, Amy Zhang.

ORGANIZERS’ STATEMENT

“Cultures of Fermentation”

Mark Aldenderfer (University of California, Merced)

Christina Warinner (Harvard University; MPI for the Science of Human History)

Jessica Hendy (University of York)

Matthäus Rest (MPI for the Science of Human History)

Fermentation is a practice in which complex communities of humans, animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria meet and thrive. It provides us with a unique vantage point to engage and connect with recent debates in anthropology, biology, and beyond. Today, many of these multi-species communities that have been fermenting together, often in an unbroken chain for hundreds of human generations (and millions of microbial generations), are under severe threat of loss. Many factors have contributed to this fermentation crisis, most importantly the increasing industrialization and standardization of farming and food processing. The global decline of small-scale agriculture results in the replacement of a multiplicity of local strains with a much less diverse set of industrially bred organisms. But while there is a broad and diverse movement to save heirloom seeds and heritage livestock breeds, the impending loss of the microbial strains integral to small-scale fermentation is only starting to gain attention in academia and civil society. Popular interest in fermentation is growing dramatically, particularly in the context of microbreweries and artisanal cheese. Homemade fermented foods are increasingly considered healthy and hip, and they simultaneously serve to ground the fermenter in history and enable an expression of individuality. Fermentation is at the core of food traditions around the world, and the study of fermentation crosscuts the social and natural sciences. This symposium will foster interdisciplinary conversations integral to understanding human-microbial cultures. By bridging the fields of archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, microbiology, and ecology, this symposium will cultivate an anthropology of fermentation.

The symposium will be organized around five strains of inquiry:

Cultures within cultures: Recent revelations on the importance of microbes for human biology, health, and culture on the one hand, and the rise of antimicrobial resistance on the other, necessitate a reassessment of the modernist attempt to pasteurize the world. Focusing on fermentation allows new ways of thinking through questions of agency, the body, and ultimately what it means to be ‘human.’ What will be the outlines of an anthropology of microbes that replaces visions of bacterial sterility with one of cohabitation? What would a political theory look like that considers the role of microbial life forms not only in the context of human suffering but also in human thriving?

Fundamental fermenters: Fermentation is an ancient and fundamental biological process. Long predating ourselves, it traces its origins to the early earth. Today, we use fermentation to transform our foods, fuel our microbiome, and compost our waste. There are however, many overlooked partners in this process. Insects such as wasps disperse wild yeasts and prime our agricultural products for fermentation. Dairy livestock seed their milk with lactic acid bacteria that outcompete pathogens and assist in raw milk yogurt and cheese production. Even human breast milk is not sterile – it is inoculated with native bacteria that assist the growing infant’s digestion. Who are the major partners in both human and non-human fermentation systems, and how do they interact? What are the routes that microbial species travel through in biological and cultural systems?

The prehistory of fermented foods: Arguably, fermentation has been the most important technology for preserving food throughout human history. Recent advances in biomolecular archaeology have expanded our ability to detect ancient culinary practices and have already generated surprising findings on the antiquity of dairy in Asia, the origins of wine production in Europe, and the early use of pottery for fish fermentation. How does a food transition from being simply edible to a product of a sophisticated, multi-species manufacturing process? How did the evolution of fermentation technologies intersect with processes of animal and plant domestication?

Microbes as the secret ingredient of cuisine: Underappreciated and often overlooked, fermented foods lie at the very heart of global cuisine. From wine and beer to bread, coffee, and chocolate, fermentation drives our appetites and dazzles our senses. On the one hand, industrial food production involves microbial regulation across the supply chain, but on the other, local traditions of fermented foods are vast, and homespun “wild ferments” have seen a rise in popularity, from kitchen-table sourdough starters to bathtub kombucha. How do microbes contribute to food identities? What are the culinary implications of food sterilization? What are the consequences of commercial microbial control? How well characterized is the diversity of food microbes and should there be scientific efforts to document, sequence, and preserve them?

Politics of fermentation: With the rise of industrialized agriculture, we face a dramatic decrease in the diversity of livestock breeds and microbial fermenters. The global decrease in small-scale fermentation endangers the survival of many of the microbial strains that have been fermenting with us for thousands of years, and with them the social and biological legacy of millennia of human culture. How should we respond to the disappearance of these microbes? How can local communities of microbes be protected?

Symposium #159: Toward an Anthropological Understanding of Masculinities, Maleness, and Violence

This past March Wenner-Gren found itself in familiar surroundings at the Tivoli Pálacio de Seteais in Sintra for the 159th Symposium “Toward an Anthropological Understanding of Masculinities, Maleness, and Violence”, organized by Matthew Gutmann (Brown University), Robin Nelson (Santa Clara University), and Agustín Fuentes (University of Notre Dame). Be on the lookout for a future issue of Current Anthropology for this meeting’s papers, available to all 100% Open-Access.

From Left: Agustín Fuentes, Godfrey Maringira, Fátima Pinto, Robin Nelson, Hannah Marshall, Rick Bribiescas, Mark Ropelewski, Bob Pease, Sally Merry, Matt Gutmann, Maria Amelia Viteri, Ricky Smith, Tiffiny Tung, Sealing Cheng, Brian Ferguson, Danilyn Rutherford, Lise Eliot, Mark Padilla, Laurie Obbink

ORGANIZERS’ STATEMENT

“Toward an Anthropological Understanding of Masculinities, Maleness, and Violence”

Matthew Gutmann (Brown University)

Robin Nelson (Santa Clara University)

Agustín Fuentes (University of Notre Dame)

No one is surprised that most murderers are men. What gets ignored too often is that most men are not murderers. However, the entanglement between maleness, masculinity, and violence is neither straightforward nor uniform. For several decades, cultural anthropologists have studied and analyzed masculinities and gender-based violence of all sorts. These range from intimate partner violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse, racialized violence, and armed conflict. Simultaneously, biological anthropologists have examined the relationships of evolutionary processes, genomics, and endocrinology between maleness and violence.  Yet rarely if ever do these two currents in contemporary anthropological scholarship meet, except perhaps in effortless dismissal of the more intemperate claims of others.

In humans, imagination, perceptions, and ideology matter as much as bone, muscle, and Y chromosomes. Both perceptual and material feedback loops channel violence into physiological changes in bodies and reshape ideologies. Yet outside and inside the academy there is widespread confidence in biological explanations that draw a direct link between maleness and violence. What we seek here is a more nuanced approach that recognizes previous engagements but gives weight to imagination, perceptions, histories, and embodiment in masculinity and violence.  A central purpose of this symposium is for scholars from diverse branches of anthropology and allied fields to engage in dialogue, to not talk past each other, to sincerely seek better toolkits to address issues of violence, masculinity, maleness within our academic and public discussions, communications, and debates.

Donald Trump’s boasts of sexual assault, the counter-wave of women’s protests against male predatory entitlement and impunity, and the challenge to men to cease their complicity have become pivotal on every newscast featuring sexual harassment and assaults. Our own field of anthropology has become a central locale for uncovering, engaging and dealing with male privilege, bias and coercive violence.  The topic of violence is obviously expansive. For this symposium, we want to focus discussion on physical and psychological violence associated with maleness and masculinities from coercion to warfare. These topics should remain a focus of our attention for years to come, and anthropologists should have more authority to speak to the fundamental questions: Is this just the way men are if they think they can get away with it?  Is male violence “natural”?  In examining beliefs about men’s aggressive natures rooted in some imagined prehistory, an accurate understanding of biology in integration with a broader anthropology has never been more important.  We think that diverse anthropological theory must be brought to bear on this subject if we are to develop more complete, effective and usable (in policy, education, and public debate) analyses of maleness, masculinities, and violence.

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries the spate of learned reports on aggression might make one think that there is a causal link between maleness and violence.  Selfish genes, demonic males, the spread of agriculture, personal vengeance, and politics by other means have all been ideas promoted to explain the innate violent connection between maleness and power.  But is any of it true?

The eminent Cambridge neuroscientist Joe Herbert, writing in 2015, tells us, “As well as the imprint of biological inheritance, we see the tendrils of testosterone all over war, gangs, and fanaticism,” and, “There’s a very simple reason why most financial traders are young(ish) men.  The nature of trading incorporates all the features for which young males are biologically adapted.”  Do the on-average differences between male and female physiologies form the underlying basis for violence?  Perhaps not, but if they do indicate something, what can we learn from them?

This conference will gather some of the leading researchers on maleness, masculinities, and violence in anthropology to engage each other in constructive dialogue on these issues.  If anthropology is to mean anything as an integrative discipline, it must be able to advance our understanding by bringing the subfields into the direct exchange of ideas on pressing social challenges like gender-based violence.

We are not looking to repeat past assessments of this topic.  Nor are we looking to remain segregated by different vantage points, ideologies and methodologies.  We seek to disregard traditional boundaries and ask all who participate in this conference to come prepared to absorb a full range of ideas, to attempt to identify and facilitate connectivities across approaches.

 

Symposium #158: Atlantic Slavery and the Making of the Modern World: Experiences, Representations, and Legacies

In October Wenner-Gren once again made the journey back to Tivoli Pálacio de Seteais in Sintra, Portugal for the 158th Symposium, “Atlantic Slavery and the Making of the Modern World: Experiences, Representations and Legacies”, organized by Ibrahima Thiaw (IFAN-University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar) and Deborah Mack (National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC). Be on the lookout for the upcoming special issue of Current Anthropology for the meeting’s papers, available to all 100% Open-Access.

Front: Laurie Obbink, Mark Leone, Liza Gijanto, Ibrahima Thiaw, Deborah Mack, Catherine Hall, Joseph Inikori, Ana Lucia Araujo, Kelly Goldberg.
Back: Cameron Monroe, Jemima Pierre, Hannes Schroeder, Michael Blakey, Jean Muteba Rahier, Katharina Schramm, Temi Odumosu, Fátima Pinto, Danilyn Rutherford.

ORGANIZERS’ STATEMENT

“Atlantic Slavery and the Making of the Modern World: Experiences, Representations and Legacies”

Ibrahima Thiaw (IFAN-University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar)
Deborah Mack (NMAAHC-Smithsonian)

Even today, Atlantic slavery and the slave trade continue to haunt our present and to impact our everyday lives. The persistence of racist ideology and its contestations, economic disparities within and between nation states and across continents, human trafficking and massive migratory movements in world populations today are stark reminders of global processes unleashed by capitalist and imperial expansions concomitant with the Atlantic economy. While the institution of slavery and the trade in people were important components in other major global trade networks (e.g., Roman empire, trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean commerce, etc.), the historical proximity of Atlantic slavery, its strong racial and racist foundations, its scale and its long-term effects make it profoundly relevant to the modern experience. Its enduring legacies and multiple reverberations on various domains of modern life are sensitive topics of tremendous political and popular concern in various regions of the globe, and particularly in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

There is a massive body of scholarly (anthropologists, historians, sociologists, economic historians, art and architectural historians, preservationists, landscape and urban planners and various other heritage professionals, etc.) and non-scholarly production (e.g., visual artists, storytellers, musicians, performance artists, etc.) on Atlantic slavery and its afterlives. Over the past decades, however, the strong resonance of histories of slavery in local and global politics, the challenges they pose to modern governance and policing, the multiplication and multivocality of actors, as well as the racial polarization of these debates have collectively rendered the discipline of anthropology ever more relevant. Politically engaged anthropologists have dismantled Eurocentric assumptions about racial hierarchies and stigmatization, gender and class biases, and essentialist views on cultural identity. Many anthropological explorations of Atlantic slavery today are self-reflective and highlight the capacity of the discipline to reinvent itself by examining its paradigms, theories, and methods and by challenging accepted models of thought, as well as commonplace understandings of cultural, racial, ethnic and even socioeconomic differences. Anthropology has taken a stand against many power-driven assumptions to be more attentive to subaltern voices worldwide, particularly on issues related to slavery and its aftermath in the global North as well as in the global South.

Building on such momentum and on the large corpus of existing literature, this symposium will gather pioneering academic and public scholars working from a wide range of perspectives. The symposium will not only evaluate existing literatures and practice, it will also provide a unique opportunity to generate and explore new ideas for future directions. We hope to build conversations among several disciplines of evidence, contexts and frameworks to challenge pre-existing approaches, and in the process identify new approaches in both theory and practices that benefit both scholarship and our globalized communities on the ground. Participants from different disciplinary homes, cultural backgrounds, and research traditions in Africa, the Americas and Europe are invited to reflect on the different geographies of power and cultural economies of Atlantic slavery and their enduring legacies in the 21st century. Because we want these conversations to be among people who are both strangers to each other and bring different types of new knowledge to the table, we hope that we serve as a strong voice to building bridges within anthropology and across disciplines. We are intentionally challenging intellectual traditions within and across the field of anthropology and offer models of what anthropology has to become in order to have greater impact in policy as well as public culture and action. Our goal is to provoke productive, cross-pollinating conversations across geographical, methodological and theoretical boundaries, to revisit, reactivate, and redirect debates on Atlantic slavery for the 21st century and beyond.

The symposium is organized around five major themes:

1. Historicizing Capitalist Expansion, Atlantic Slavery, and Empires: How have the historical linkages between capitalist expansion, Atlantic slavery and the making of empires been explored in different world regions? How central was the institution of slavery for the development and expansion of capitalism and empire? What were the roles of local versus translocal situations and processes in the polarization of power and wealth in specific world regions? How were these processes maintained and/or changed in different contexts and localities around the globe?

2. Atlantic Slavery and the Politics of Identity: How, when, where, and under which specific conditions did Atlantic slavery produce national and/or transnational identities and political strategies (e.g. diaspora, panafricanism, white supremacy, etc.)? How does the history of Atlantic slavery continue to inform contemporary racialization processes? How and when did the tangled genealogies of the Atlantic blur the very ideological reification of race and ethnicity upon which the institution of slavery was built? How then should we assess the contemporary relevance of identity categories and their eventual use in modern governance? What is the cultural and political significance of the growing industry of genetics and root identity?

3. Slavery and the Production and Reproduction of Social Inequality: How can anthropological approaches to slavery elicit the linkages between slavery and other regimes of inequality based on a manipulation of race, ethnicity, caste, class, gender, religion, etc.? How were these constructed and reproduced, and how did they influence one another in different contexts across the Atlantic and beyond?

4. Remembrance, Memorialization, and the Governance of a Difficult Past: How is slavery remembered in different regions of the world? How and why do different political subjectivities claim and/or contest established modes of memorialization? How do processes of memorialization intersect with the governance, management, and interpretation of these sites of memory and their commodification?

5. Societal and Ideological Responses to Slavery and its Legacies: How are slavery, its memories and/or its legacies produced, experienced, and contested? What are the counter ideologies and other societal responses to slavery, and what effects have they had? How can anthropology contribute to inform policy and the public on slavery and its legacies for a healthier society?

There might be different sensibilities in the ways the terms slave, slavery, and enslavement are used in different academic traditions. However, participants should keep in mind that our prime objective is to generate an up-to-date anthropological knowledge on Atlantic slavery that would dismantle prior assumptions and open up a renewed perspective foregrounded in research and evidence.

Upcoming November Conference

15th Congress of the Latin American Association for Biological Anthropology

November 1 – 4 2018

Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Since 1990, the Latin American Association for Biological Anthropology (ALAB) meets every two years in different cities across Latin America. This will be its 15th meeting (Congress), and the first to take place in Puerto Rico or any jurisdiction under the United States of America. As expressed in its by-laws, ALAB will organize meetings to contribute to the development of Latin American researchers and professors for the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the field of Biological Anthropology. Meetings serve has hubs for networking among Latin American researchers, their students, and world-renown investigators undertaking anthropological research on issues related to Latin America. Collaborations for research and dissemination initiatives are developed. The 15th meeting is expected to join approximately 300 participants from across Latin America, including the Caribbean, plus invited speakers from the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Upcoming September Conferences

4th AIBR International Conference of Anthropology

September 4-7, 2018

Granada, Spain

After the success of our three previous editions, in 2018 the 4th AIBR International Conference of Anthropology will take place in Granada (Spain). AIBR’s yearly conference has become a meaningful and necessary gathering for anthropologists from many parts of the world, but specially from Iberoamerica (Spain, Portugal, and Latin America). This year we will meet around the general theme “Dialogues, Encounters, and Stories from the Souths”. This is a special edition of the Conference where we aim to bring together research, narratives and testimonies from non-Western scholars. We want to bring to the spotlight anthropology as it is practiced in countries and by scholars who situate themselves outside mainstream anthropological theory and practice. Focusing on narratives from the Souths brings us an opportunity to recognize diverse genres of research, writing, and scholarship coming from places and universities that are rarely mentioned in the top rated scientific journals of our discipline.

In the 4th AIBR International Conference we continue to build on the experience of our previous editions. In 2015, the II Conference was held in Barcelona, with sponsorship from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, where a total of 876 delegates met and 140 panels took place. The high turnout in Madrid (1st edition), Barcelona (2nd edition) and Puerto Vallarta (3rd edition) and the positive feedback received from the Conference participants showed that it was necessary to create further spaces for dialogue within Iberoamerican anthropology. In 2017 we were able to cross the Ocean. The Puerto Vallarta edition (Mexico) brought together scholars from 28 different countries. The 4th edition of this conference will be jointly organized by AIBR (Network of Iberoamerican Anthropologists) and the University of Granada (Department of Social Anthropology and Institute of Migrations). The conference aims to create a space that combines a range of traditional and innovative forms of dissemination of knowledge to inspire discussion and debate.

8th Annual European Society For The Study of Human Evolution Meeting

September 13-15, 2018

Faro, Portugal

ESHE, the European Society for the study of Human Evolution, promotes the broad field of research which investigates how humans evolved both biologically and culturally. Contributing disciplines typically include hominin palaeontology and palaeogenetics; comparative and functional studies of extant primates, using both morphological and molecular evidence; Palaeolithic archaeology; and applied studies of stable isotopes, dating, taphonomy, palaeoecology and palaeogeography.

ESHE aims to stimulate communication and scientific cooperation between scientists, and to improve public understanding of human evolution. Core activities of the society are: the organization of yearly meetings with a scientific programme, as well as a public-outreach event; encouraging and helping the development of international and interdisciplinary research proposals and projects, and initiating and supporting activities which increase the public visibility of human evolution studies.

The ESHE annual conference brings together an average of over 350 experts and graduate students that present the most recent research in human evolution and adaptation in Plio-Pleistocene contexts, including results from biological-physical research, archaeology, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, earth sciences, aDNA, isotopes, etc.

21st Congress Of The Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

September 23-28, 2018

Hue, Vietnam

This 21st IPPA Congress will gather indigenous Indo-Pacific and other, mainly “Western”, scholars to discuss diverse themes in Indo-Pacific prehistory. As per IPPA procedure, convenors will organize sessions around topical themes in Indo-Pacific archaeology, cultural heritage, natural science, comparative linguistics, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology and genetics. The IPPA region extends W-E from Pakistan to Easter Island, and N-S from Siberia to Australasia. Conference topics can concern any part of this area.

IPPA congresses run every 4 years in collaboration with in-country institutions, most recently at Angkor with the Royal Academy of Cambodia and Khmer Archaeological Society in 2014. Past co-sponsors include the Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi (late 2009), the Philippines National Museum and University of the Philippines in Manila (2006), Academia Sinica in Taipei (2002), and the National Museum of Malaysia in Melaka (1998). The 21st Congress in 2018 is co-organised with the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre and the Institute of Archaeology in the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.

 

Upcoming August Conference

15th Biennial European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)

August 14 – 18, 2018

Stockholm, Sweden

Recent times, for much of humanity but not least in Europe, have been marked by dramatic mobility. It has taken many forms: refugee streams and labor migration, but also pilgrimage, tourism, and the transnational leisure migration of retirees. It is continuously in the news. Mobility has long been a topic in anthropological research. In view of the range and importance of its current forms, mobility is a suitable main theme of the 2018 conference of EASA. The conference will not only focus narrowly on the forms of spatial movement, but willl reflect the variety of its backgrounds, forms and contexts, and longer-term implications ranging from communities left behind, infrastructures of mobility, and the meaning of home, to the relationships between mobility and social media, and the public uses of anthropology. While providing opportunity for reports on ongoing and recent research, this will in addition inspire future anthropological investigations.

The conference brings together scholars and students from across Europe and beyond;
thus creating new formal and informal relationships and collaborations. The Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University has a longstanding extensive engagement with EASA. The Department is prominent internationally not least through its teaching, research and publications on globalization and migration. Building on this, the 15th EASA conference will be an excellent opportunity to further develop this international network, and encourage scholars, especially young ones and students, to broaden the scope of their collaborative networks.