113th AAA Annual Meeting:
December 3–7, 2014
Washington DC USA.
Call for Papers
Our association’s history suggests that anthropology was an early adopter of an alchemic interdisciplinarity. We are a scientific practice of multivocality, committed to conversations across networks, interests, and perspectives. Indeed, the American Anthropological Association introduced annual meeting themes to the program in 1991 (the inaugural theme addressed Nationalism, Ethnicity, Race and Racism), to underscore the discipline’s capacious potential to confront challenges faced by “human societies throughout the world.” The call for papers that year highlighted the planned participation of “[s]cholars from several countries”, signaling a burgeoning awareness that the borders of the United States did not and should not limit anthropological knowledge produced at the meetings. Topics from subsequent years reflect the discipline’s fault lines and doubts about our common legacies, affinities, collaborations and future, even as we assembled to collectively apply what we know to the struggles of humankind and our environment. No matter our individual position on the nature of anthropological knowledge or how best to produce it, the association’s members annually assemble to understand and transform the world around us.
Producing Anthropology, the 2014 annual meeting theme, offers a provocation to examine the truths we encounter, produce and communicate through anthropological theories and methods. As a discipline built on blending archives of narratives, actions, sediment and bone, anthropology has well-established methods for grappling with complex, multidimensional artifacts. But what are our epistemological commitments to the ways we make scientific knowledge today? What impact do our epistemic convictions and predilections have, intended or not? What goals do we want to set for ourselves? What partnerships should we build? What audiences should we seek? And how will the truths we generate change as we contend with radical shifts in scholarly publishing, employment opportunities, and labor conditions for anthropologists, as well as the politics of circulating the anthropological records we produce?
Washington DC, the host city for our 2014 AAA Annual Meeting, provides us with an excellent venue for this pivotal conversation. It affords rich opportunities to bring together political, cultural, and educational constituencies from the city, the region, the United States, and the world. DC is also a center for producing memories and narratives of humanity, culture, language, history, prehistory and the natural world. It even serves as the residence of a particularly well-known son of an anthropologist—Barack Obama.
In addition to the familiar, productive formats of individual papers, organized panels, screenings, roundtables and Section-sponsored events, we will work to expand Installations—performances, recitals, conversations, author-meets-critic roundtables, salon reading workshops, oral history recording sessions and other alternative, creative forms of intellectual expression. We continue our efforts to challenge how anthropology conceptualizes and experiences scholarly communication, both deeply engaging local Washington DC audiences and extending the reach of the meeting to those interested in joining the conversation from afar. We hope these conversations will challenge what we take for granted as anthropological ways of knowing, seeing and communicating our scholarship.