01/11/15

CFP: Anthropology on the Ground – insiders, advocates, collaborators, and activists.

Call for proposals for April 16-18, 2015 SANA conference @ John Jay College, CUNY, NYC.

 Anthropologists can stand witness. We can accept our social complicity while acting against structural violence. We can enact a direct commitment to be there on the ground as witnesses and actors for change. This track seeks anthropologists and community activists who are engaged on the ground, as witnesses to social justice struggles, as activists, as advocates. We seek submissions from those who share with us the view of “the field,” not as a place for data extraction but, instead, as places of theory formation, praxis, and activist-oriented witnessing.

This track picks up the promise of our disciplinary practices through an invitation to explore the various ways in which we have done, are doing, and could do anthropology with a specific focus of being on the ground, alongside of and as witness to the social dramas that make up the quotidian aspects of human life and mark the moments of disjuncture and transformation. Picking up a central concept within indigenous intellectual theory and cultural practice, the act of witnessing, this track calls on anthropologists engaged as insider researchers, advocates, collaborators, and activists to consider the points within which their practice identifies points of inequality and difference while moving toward a just society in which difference is valued and equality is the norm.

In current movements for social justice we –anthropologists- can stand witness and accept our social complicity while acting against structural violence through a direct commitment to be there on the ground as witnesses and actors for change. This track seeks submissions from anthropologists and community activists who are engaged on the ground, as witnesses to social justice struggles, as activists, as advocates. We seek submissions from those who share with us the view of “the field,” not as a place for data extraction but, instead, as places of theory formation, praxis, and activist-oriented witnessing. Within our diversity of approach, focus, and orientations we can find common ground as witnesses to change and struggle. Indigenous movements for justice are at the core of any program for social justice – no redress or realignment of US, Canadian, or Mexican racialized state violence can begin without confronting the underlying act of Imperialist aggression that laid the foundation for subsequent generations of structural and interpersonal violence. That said, no Indigenous movement for social justice can be an island unto itself; tactical and strategic alliance with other social justice movements is necessary.

The track will focus on four key sections or quadrants. This use of four is a deliberate reference to the four directions of the Indigenous medicine wheel. This pan-Indian symbol builds upon the Indigenous intellectual traditions of North America in ways that have contemporary resonance. This also builds upon the recognition that redress to fundamental inequities will not be achieved without reconciling with the original theft and displacement of Indigenous lands. While each section will be focused on one quadrant of the medicine wheel, within each session we will draw upon the four directions to ensure that a balanced discussion and experience arises.

  • North: movements of domination
  • South: movements for immigrant rights
  • West: social justice in the face of structural state violence
  • East: we are idle no more

Participants are asked to prepare a discussion paper to be circulated in advance. Participants are also encouraged to prepare for display during the conference a poster, a video installation, or a photographic essay that relates to and elaborates upon their paper. The multi-media works will be displayed in a central location (ideally the space that this track occupies) and open to all conference participants.

For more details about the track, contact charles.menzies@ubc.ca To submit to the conference contact sanaconference2015@gmail.com