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Format for December 4th Members’ Open Forum on Engagement with Israel and Palestine

Today’s guest blog post is written by Ed Liebow, Executive Director.

Last July’s Anthropology News mentioned a variety of ways in which AAA leadership is trying to foster dialogue and information exchange among AAA members on anthropologically relevant issues related to Israel/Palestine. We mentioned there that an Open Forum would be held at the Annual Meeting; it has now been scheduled for Thursday 4 December, from 13:00 to 14:15 in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Ballroom Salon 2. Our goal is to facilitate dialogue among AAA Members, bringing to bear on the conversation the culture of inquiry and analytical skills characteristic of our profession.

The frame for the discussion is: what issues related to Israel/Palestine are relevant to us as anthropologists, as members of a scholarly association, and to the AAA as an association of anthropologists?

Here is what you can expect at the Open Forum. The hall will be arranged with a number of tables; the hall is large and we can accommodate many small groups. You will be encouraged to sit with people you do not already know well. There will be introductory remarks from Monica Heller, the AAA President, a brief update on the work of the AAA Task Force on Engagement on Issues related to Israel/Palestine by the Task Force chair, AAA Past-President Don Brenneis, and a short explanation of the forum’s format by our lead facilitator, Tarek Maassarani. The process will include an opening round to build trust and familiarity amongst participants; several discussion rounds with prompts to share what questions, knowledge, perspectives, and experiences participants bring to the table; and a reflective closing round to share insights and their relevance beyond this one event.

Participants will also be given index cards that they can place in feedback boxes as they leave the room. Facilitators will be asked to fill out a reflection form immediately following the dialogue to help us better understand what happened at each table. If there is time, we might be able to hear from some of the facilitators before we need to vacate the room. Since the objective at this stage is to foster dialogue among members, we will check badges at the entrance. Executive Board members, Task Force members, Section Assembly leadership and AAA staff will likely attend as observers. We will ask the press to respect our privacy during the Forum, though we are happy for participants to speak to the press (or blog or tweet) before and after the event. We are also open to considering further such events, whether open only to members or not.

AAA 2014 Annual Photo Contest Voting Period Ending Tonight

Hello all! The photo contest voting period is coming to an end tonight at midnight (Eastern Time). Get your votes in now.  We will than proceed to the staff voting and production phase to produce the calendar.

If you do not wish to use Facebook for voting, please email photos@aaanet.org, no votes will be counted which have been submitted after midnight (Eastern Time) tonight.

I want to thank all the amazing photographers who have submitted this year.  We got more submission and votes this year than any previous year, each provoking and imaginative.  Thanks to your votes we will be narrowing down the photographs until we have 12 for our calendar (Ideally 4 from each of the categories). Then we will be producing the calendar, which will be given out at the annual meeting, or by request after the annual meeting.

If you are one of the photographers selected for the calendar, please email photos@aaanet.org, so we can send you the desired number of calendars.  There is a limited amount being produced this year, so please request early!

Webinar Wednesday: Samuel Gerald Collins and Social Network Analysis for Qualitative Research

Samuel Gerald Collins_blog  Join the American Anthropological Association tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern Time for a complimentary webinar examining Social Network Analysis.  This webinar will provide practical take-away knowledge dealing with NodeXL, a free and open source template for Microsoft® Excel® 2007, 2010 and 2013 that makes it easy to explore network graphs.  NodeXL helps bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative analysis.  This is a must see webinar for anyone looking for a new method of data gathering, or if you feel like you could brush up on your skills.

Samuel Gerald Collins is an anthropologist at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland.  His research examines the urban as the confluence of people and social media.  He is the author of various books, book chapters and articles, among them All Tomorrow’s Cultures: Anthropological Engagements With the Future (Berghahn, 2008), Library of Walls (2009) and, along with co-author Matthew Durington, Networked Anthropology (Routledge, 2014).  He is currently in Seoul on a Fulbright Grant.

Sign up for the webinar here: https://aaanetevents.webex.com/mw0401l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=aaanetevents when the event begins, you will be prompted to use the password “anthro” Be sure to run a Mic/Speaker audio test (found in the communications tab) and that your speakers are set to the right internal or external source.

Webinar Summary:

1. Terms for Social Network Analysis.

2. Using NodeXL

3. Case Study 1: Who are my interlocutors?

4. Case Study 2: Where is my field site?

5. Case Study 3: What happened to my research?

6. Additional Resources

You will not need to download NodeXL for this event, but if you are interested in checking it out beforehand, it is available here: http://nodexl.codeplex.com/

Early workshops registration ends soon, so register now for workshops!

Today’s guest blog post is by Dr. Sabrina Nichelle Scott. Dr. Scott is a consumer anthropologist, and she is the Chair of the NAPA Workshops Committee.

113th AAA Annual MeetingWorkshops registration is now available. Unlike last year, workshops begin on the first day of the AAA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 and end on Saturday, December 7, 2014. It is exciting to have the opportunity to choose from over 40 workshops from various sections within AAA with 12 of those workshops offered by the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA). Complete workshop descriptions and convenient online registration are available at http://www.aaanet.org/meetings/Workshops.cfm. Early workshops registration ends soon, so register now to guarantee your seat. I look forward to seeing you in DC!

The AAA Process and Discussions of the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions

Today’s guest blog post is written by AAA members, Fida Adely and Lara Deeb

At the upcoming (December 2014) annual meeting of the American Anthropological Society (AAA), several panels will take up the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, providing a context for learning about how anthropologists have been and could be further engaged in a just resolution. Several of these forums specifically focus on discussion of the call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. We support this boycott, but whether or not you agree with our position, we would like to clear up some circulating misinformation about how the discussion is taking shape in the AAA.

As of late, a number of people outside anthropology who are either opposed to an academic boycott, and/or opposed to any discussion or debate of such a boycott, have criticized the AAA for failing to provide “balance” in this annual meeting programming, implying that somehow this was deliberate on the part of the AAA, or at best, a glaring oversight. It is important to note that all of the panels mentioned above were vetted through the standard review process for proposed events at the annual meeting, the deadline for which was February 15 of this year (see the call for proposals). Indeed, the panel on the AAA program that, based on its title, will present an argument against the academic boycott was also submitted and vetted through this process. If there are fewer panels that seem to argue against the academic boycott rather than support it, this is because fewer were submitted by AAA members for inclusion on the program.

To those who suggest that opponents of the academic boycott were “surprised” by the multiple panels discussing the issue on this year’s AAA program: It is worth noting that this is the second year that discussion of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions has taken place in this venue. The 2013 AAA Annual Meeting included a well-attended panel of papers addressing various aspects of the boycott, and at that panel, a draft resolution was circulated and attendees were informed that further discussion of the boycott would take place at the 2014 Annual Meeting. The passing of academic boycott resolutions at the American Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the Asian-American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and other academic associations should also have been an indication that similar discussions would arise at the AAA and elsewhere. This is not a matter that is somehow limited to anthropologists but a broader response from scholars to a call for solidarity from Palestinian civil society, in particular the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. Clearly a few people understood that this would be discussed at the AAAs, as there is an anti-boycott panel on the program. If people do not find that particular panel “credible,” it is not the AAA’s fault.

There are a number of possible explanations for the dearth of anthropologists from major Israeli universities on panels addressing these issues. Those scholars may not have wanted to open up discussion of the academic boycott, as indicated by a letter from the Israeli Anthropological Association that condemns the AAA for its panel selections and for focusing on Israel as a key topic of discussion at the upcoming meetings. Yet it may also, instead, be an indication that it is not an easy task for Israeli scholars to publicly advocate the boycott of Israeli academic institutions – for fear of reprisals or punishment under Israeli government anti-boycott laws. While boycott advocates are not calling for scholars working in Israeli institutions to boycott their own institutions, some scholars in Israel have spoken out in support of the boycott. More than forty Israeli anthropologists responded to that letter from the Israeli Anthropological Association in a counter-letter defending the right of their anthropology colleagues to have this discussion. Notably, quite a few of the signatories on the second letter chose to sign anonymously, highlighting the very real possibility of sanctions, especially for early career scholars. As demonstrated in the IAA letter, those opposed to the academic boycott of Israeli institutions have sought to shut down even the mere discussion of the boycott. The default “anti-boycott” position is to not address it at all. This may provide a possible explanation for why only one such panel was organized and submitted for inclusion on the 2014 Annual Meeting program.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that the demand for “balance” in the context of an academic conference such as the AAA Annual Meeting is a puzzling one. What does balance mean in this context? That every argument should have a counter-argument? That AAA should henceforth review proposals with “balance” of theoretical and ideological leanings in mind? The AAA leadership’s job is to make sure panel proposals meet minimum criteria and are vetted through an established peer review process. They are not tasked with – nor should they be tasked with – micromanaging the conference program. Those who demand “balance” are asking the AAA leadership to interfere with existing process by which the conference comes together each year, something we are certain neither Association members or those in its leadership positions think is a good idea.

Camp AAA Childcare Hours Extended for 113th AAA Annual Meeting

113th AAA Annual Meeting

New for the 113th AAA Annual Meeting, Camp AAA childcare will have extended hours.

CAMP AAA welcomes children ages 6 months – 12 years. Children participate in age-appropriate activities including arts and crafts projects, active games and much more in a safe, nurturing environment.

Wednesday, December 3 – 11am to 10pm
Thursday, December 4 – Saturday, December 6 – 8:30am to 8:30pm
Sunday, December 7 – 7:30am to 2pm

Registration is now open. Space is limited. Click here for details and to register.

 

AES Graduate-Student Workshops at the 113th AAA Annual Meeting

American Ethnological Society

The American Ethnological Society is pleased to announce its ongoing series of graduate-student workshops. The workshops will take place during the American Anthropological Association’s 113th Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

Each workshop is limited to ten students. The workshops are free. To apply for a workshop, please send a 250-300-word description of your research project and its relationship to the workshop theme. Descriptions will be shared with other workshop participants in advance of the meeting. In addition, your faculty leader(s) may circulate one short piece for discussion.

Preference will be given to AES Student Members, though non-members are also encouraged to apply. Students can join the AES for $18.

To apply for a workshop, or if you have any questions, please contact: Andrew Hernann (ahernann@gc.cuny.edu). The deadline to apply is November 1, 2014.

We are pleased to offer the following five workshops:

Teaching Intro: Strategies for Reaching our Largest Public Audience
Faculty facilitator: Kenneth Guest (Baruch College CUNY/AES Treasurer)
Date: Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014
Time: 9:00 am-10: 45 am

More than 200,000 students take “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” in the United States every year. This is by far anthropology’s largest public audience. It is where anthropology departments have their largest enrollments—and we may have these students for as many as 15 weeks. Facilitated by Prof. Kenneth Guest, author of the new textbook, Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age (2014), this discussion considers strategies for engaging introductory students in deep learning about the way the world works using the tools of anthropology.

Ethnography for the 21st Century
Faculty facilitators: Joseph Masco (University of Chicago), Ken Wissoker (Editorial Director, Duke University Press)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014
Time: 1:00 pm-2:15 pm

Ethnography, by definition, seeks to describe and theorize culture. Words on the page, however, are a rather thin device relative to culture’s “thickness.” Nonetheless, despite the dramatic technological innovations of the past couple of decades, the written ethnography has remained largely unchanged. In this workshop, we explore the possibilities beyond the traditional written ethnography. We ask such questions as: How can ethnographers make use of both hardware and software, including e-readers, websites, etc.? How can we utilize technology to create an ethnography that better connects, informs and teaches increasingly techno-savvy undergraduates? Facilitated by Prof. Joseph Masco and Editorial Director Ken Wissoker, this workshop brings together experts in ethnography and technology and future ethnographers, critically engaging the potentials of this technoscape for the ethnographic genre.

Publishing in Anthropology: Tips on Academic Writing and Peer Review
Faculty facilitators: Angelique Haugerud (Editor, American Ethnologist/Rutgers University), Catherine Besteman (AE editorial board member/Colby College), Eric Gable (AE book review editor/University of Mary Washington), and other AE editorial board members.
Date: Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014
Time: 1:00 pm-2:15 pm

In this workshop, Prof. Angelique Haugerud, Prof. Catherine Besteman, and Prof. Eric Gable offer advice on publishing in scholarly journals as well as for wider audiences. Topics include elements of successful academic writing, navigating the peer review process, what goes on behind the scenes in editorial boards and editorial offices, selecting journals and approaching editors, writing for edited volumes, preparing book reviews and book prospectuses, and how to get an article accepted in the American Ethnologist. This session will include time for participants to ask questions about a range of publishing processes and practices.

Writing Violence
Faculty facilitators: Carolyn Nordstrom (Notre Dame University), Sally Engle Merry (New York University)
Date: Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
Time: 1:00 pm-2:15 pm

All ethnographic writing poses challenges. A political act, ethnography raises questions of representation and (inter-)subjectivity. However, ethnography of violence and conflict encounters some particular issues. For instance: How to avoid fetishizing violence? How to alleviate the perpetrator-victim dichotomy? How to prevent accounts of violence from becoming white noise? How to prevent violence from becoming a trope in/for certain regions? Following up on last year’s successful graduate student roundtable, “Methodological and Ethical Issues in Ethnographic Research on Conflict and Violence,” co-facilitators Prof. Carolyn Nordstrom and Prof. Sally Engle Merry come together again in order to take a critical look at the difficulties of writing about violence.

Bridging the Gap: On Anthropology and Islamic Studies
Faculty facilitators: Engseng Ho (Duke University), Andrew Shryock (University of Michigan)
Date: Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
Time: 9:00 am-10:45 am

Trans-disciplinarity has been in vogue for the past decade, yet, the conversation in many ways remains confused and/or unapproachable. This is especially problematic for anthropologists of Islam. Anthropology tends to privilege “popular” or “syncretic” expressions of religion, often underplaying the influence of “orthodoxy” and central religious texts. As a result, anthropology frequently fails to create a space to learn or critically engage the literature and theoretical entry points that are central to Islamic Studies. The result: (1) an anthropology ill-equipped to consider more “formal” approaches to Islam, as well as their relationship to “popular” Islam; and (2) an anthropology unable to effectively communicate with Islamic Studies (and vice versa). In this workshop, Prof. Engseng Ho and Prof. Andrew Shryock discuss how we can make the two disciplines better resonate with one another. Specifically, we ask: How can anthropologists make better use of Islamic Studies; and can anthropological work effectively contribute to Islamic Studies? A fresh contribution to the discussion of trans-disciplinarity, this workshop explores how to resist disciplinary enclavement and engage broader analyses in theoretically meaningful ways.

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