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AAA 2007 Meeting - DC

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  • rls@linkline.com
    The 2007 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association will be held in Washington, DC (November 28-December 2, 2007). The theme of this year s
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2007
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      The 2007 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association will be
      held in Washington, DC (November 28-December 2, 2007). The theme of this
      year's meeting is "Difference, (In)equality, & Justice" (see below) . The
      submission deadline for panels, papers, and posters is March 30th at 5 pm
      EST. Paper/panel proposals should be submitted online through the AAA
      website (go to: <http://www.aaanet.org/> http://www.aaanet.org/).

      SACC gets two invited sessions, with one always dedicated to the Five Fields
      Update. If you are considering organizing another session and want it to be
      considered for invited status, or just to be reviewed by SACC, let me know
      as soon as possible.

      --Becky




      2007 AAA Meeting Theme - "Difference, (In)equality, & Justice"

      From Faye V. Harrison, 2007 Executive Program Chair

      Anthropology has historically had a commitment to analyzing and theorizing
      human differences. The differences we study range from biologically endowed
      variations in skeletal biology and DNA to socially constructed, culturally
      elaborated, and politically mediated diversities and heterogeneities
      manifest both within and across human societies. Complex ethnic,
      linguistic, and religious pluralisms, intersecting forms of racial and class
      stratification, and gender and sexual hierarchies are significant and not
      uncommonly volatile features within societies and across the national and
      transnational landscapes where they are mapped. The broad continuum of
      differences that anthropological analysis discerns includes relatively
      innocuous differentiation as well as the differences that make a critical
      difference in how access to valued resources, prestige, and power is
      structured at local as well as supralocal levels. The latter are grounded in
      enduring yet intensely contested social inequalities. Differences do not
      necessarily assume the form of unequal social and inter-group relations.
      However, when they do, they exhibit quite a range. There are the ephemeral,
      interpersonal rankings and hierarchies that anthropologists have observed in
      relatively egalitarian societies and in the egalitarian contexts and
      modalities embedded in stratified social formations. The forms of social
      inequality to which growing numbers of anthropologists are increasingly
      directing their attention are constituted within structured,
      institutionalized domains with moorings in broad relations of power and
      political economy. The scope of those relations is often global.

      In the contemporary world, the symbolic and material dimensions of
      inequality and power are being actively renegotiated in dynamic contexts of
      crisscrossing flows and overlapping fields in which civil societies, states,
      markets, and capitals are being restructured according to the logic of a
      transnational, neoliberal culture. Accompanying or perhaps as a result of
      this process, disparities of wealth, health, life-expectancy, and military
      control appear to be widening. If these trends continue to unfold, what are
      the implications for subsistence security, intercultural relations, human
      rights and well-being, and the prospects for environmental sustainability
      and world peace? What identities and practices are emerging to contest,
      craft alternatives to, and arrest these trends? What ideologies,
      discourses, social movements, and political projects are being mobilized to
      create conditions for a future of greater equality and social justice?

      The link that some assume to exist between justice and equality is informed
      by only one among a number of competing ethical principles for judging what
      is right and wrong. How are such principles negotiated, and in what ways do
      they relate to cultural precepts, socioeconomic locations, and
      (geo)political orientations? To what extent are models and struggles for
      justice gendered, raced, and grounded in culturally resonant expressions of
      class consciousness and opposition to heteronormativity? Given that
      language is such an important dimension of identity, what role do language
      ideologies and politics play in contests over the meanings of and
      possibilities for equality and justice? How does talk about difference
      implicate or reinforce the symbolic and structural violences sustaining
      regimes of truth that claim kinship, classlessness, color blindness, gender
      neutrality, and equal opportunity in the face of hunger, poverty,
      pandemics, homophobic hate crimes, mass rape, war, and genocide?

      These questions speak to the constraints and potentialities of the
      contemporary sociocultural terrain. Through the lens of a holistic social
      science, they are also inextricably linked to questions about the past that
      biological anthropologists and archaeologists can answer. How have human
      differences and social inequalities formed over the course of time? What is
      the relationship that inequalities have had to social and economic
      complexity, state formation and expansion, and patterns of environmental
      exploitation? What does the archaeological record tell us about the agents
      of history? How are their subjectivities and modes of action and
      mobilization inscribed on the landscapes archaeologists unbury?
      Archaeologists and biological anthropologists do not only focus on the past.
      Their toolkits also enable them to apply their puzzle-solving to present-day
      situations. Studies of urban garbage dumps and of contemporary health
      disparities across lines of gender, racial, class, and national status are
      only two cases in point.

      The discipline stands only to benefit from a dialogue critically informed by
      efforts to rethink and generate new perspectives on difference, social
      inequality, and social justice, as interlocking concerns. We can meet this
      challenge by: 1) revisiting intellectual histories that have influenced
      the way we ask and answer questions; 2) critically assessing the assumptions
      and ideological underpinnings of established theories and exploring
      alternatives, whether in or outside of the mainstream; 3) exploring
      potential sites of intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary
      cross-fertilization for new insights; 4) examining ethical dilemmas and
      responsibilities; 5) linking anthropological pursuits to issues of public
      engagement; and finally, 6) bringing Western and non-Western epistemologies
      into conversation, recognizing the multiple ways of knowing, rendering, and
      acting upon the culturally diverse world. These are some of the issues that
      should stimulate our reflections on this year's theme.



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