05 April 2018

CfP - Speaking more broadly: Adapting anthropological concepts for a broader audience

Following up on our previous post, AAA in San Jose - Anthropological Concepts for Non-Anthropologists, Jennifer and I would like to take this opportunity to circulate a call for papers for our proposed AAA panel. We hope that this panel will be a launching pad for the new kind of anthropological handbook we have been imagining over the past year or so.

So, without further ado, here's our call! If you are interested in participating in this panel/ project, please get in touch with us by April 12th.

Call for Papers  |  Speaking more broadly: 
Adapting anthropological concepts for a broader audience

For questions or to submit an abstract for consideration, please email Jennifer Long (longjen@mcmaster.ca) and Rhiannon Mosher (rhmosher@yorku.ca) by April 12th.

In this panel, we seek to identify, contextualize and ‘translate’ anthropological concepts and constructs for a broader audience. This year's conference organizers ask anthropologists to write about holism, social change, resistance, resilience, and adaptation in the contemporary moment, and to recognize the importance of discussions about species, societies, reorganization, transformation and stasis. We invite anthropologists to take this challenge literally.
This CfP seeks authors who wish to break down the organizers' questions into their sum of parts in an effort to consider: how other disciplines, our applied experiences, and interdisciplinary partnerships inform our discussions. We want to know how we can tap anthropological experiences and perspectives to engage and educate a wider public? We seek to understand specifically how an anthropological vocabulary shapes and frames the field and our practices with our partners, interlocutors, and colleagues. Further, we want to better understand the ways in which anthropological understandings are understood, changed, and integrated into new contexts.

This proposed panel is a response to calls like Ryan Anderson's (2013) post (on the blog now known as Anthro{dendum}) to break the closed loop in which anthropologists often work. Anderson argues that anthropologists often end up speaking (just/ only) to one another about our work – all the while, this cacophony of anthropological insight remains locked behind closed doors. In our current sociopolitical context, and with more and more of our graduates working outside of the academy in interdisciplinary contexts, learning how to "get involved, to collaborate, to find ways to communicate and bring the ideas of anthropology to wider issues and conversations" (2013) should be the discipline's priority.

While the irony of calling for papers at the Annual Meeting on the topic of breaking open the closed loop of anthropological discussions is not lost on the panel organizers, we seek to create a resource which situates various anthropological concepts historically within our discipline, and then contextualizes these concepts in their new, renewed, and revised contexts. Importantly, each concept or term should be explained through a case study, an experience from the field, with researchers from different disciplines or through original research. It should be noted that this call is open to anthropologists in all four fields. The goal of this panel is to jump-start the draft for a text where various concepts are discussed using to be used by students, practicing and interdisciplinary colleagues.

Therefore, panel organizers seek papers that define, describe, and compare anthropological concepts used in practice, past experience, in industry (e.g. ethnography in user design or market research) or other disciplines (e.g. other social sciences, hard sciences or technology, engineering or math). Panelists should define the term in plain language, provide a brief history of its origin and use, then elucidate on the term using a case study from fieldwork, in conversation with non-anthropologists, and the workplace.

For questions or to submit an abstract for consideration, please email
Jennifer Long (longjen@mcmaster.ca) and Rhiannon Mosher (rhmosher@yorku.ca)
by April 12th.

13 March 2018

AAA in San Jose - Anthropological Concepts for Non-Anthropologists

As blogger Rhiannon and I slog through the end of the semester, we're striving to post at least 1 blog post per week. Despite our want to continue our biweekly posts, life/administration/teaching/striking is getting in our way.

Instead, the bloggers of Anthro Everywhere! are cooking up an idea for a panel at the next AAA conference in San Jose. The theme this year is Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation

One potential idea that we were throwing back and forth is the idea of writing an edited book about Anthropology (its concepts and uses) for non-Anthropologists.

Here is the idea in its nascent form - posed by blogger Long to partner-in-crime Mosher:

What do you think about writing a text that defined, described, or compared and contrasted anthropological concepts terms used in industry (e.g. ethnography in user design or market research) or other disciplines to our own? These terms could come from other social sciences, hard sciences or technology, engineering or maths. 

It would be an applied anthropology text but one that could also be used in interdisciplinary courses or by industry partners who want to understand the root of the terminology they're using. It would include examples and activities as well, which could be workplace or community-based experiences. 

This text could also serve as a guide and translation piece as to the usefulness and the pliability of anthropology - coincidentally anthropology's greatest secret and which "people" are taking way to long to figure out. I also thought it would help recent anthropology graduates articulate their skillset and knowledge to employers. 

We could write a book proposal for the AAAs timing this year (I'm going, are you?) while checking interest at the same time. 

Therefore, in a potential AAA panel proposal, we'd ask authors to identify a term, and present its application in either a work or community-based concept. Additional notes on the application of this term and its use within anthropology would also be required. 

As organizer and chair, Mosher and Long could present answers to such lingering questions as:

How would such a text be similar or different to other texts already out there, for example, Caroline B. Brettell's Anthropological Conversations: Talking Culture across Disciplines (2015).

Would such a text be more like a handbook or a textbook? Would it be an accessible text for anthropology majors/ grad students/ instructors? Would it be aimed at those who believe that most anthro grads are not going to be academics and need some guidance on how to speak to prospective employers about the value of an anthropological perspective?

Would the text be more useful if instead of presenting the info from a disciplinary perspective, it instead took a more career-stream oriented approach? More like a So what are you going to do with that? but anthro-specific approach? Or both?

Dear AnthroEverywhere! readers, what do you think?

Is there need for such a book?

Would such a text help/behoove the anthropology community? Its research participants? Its stakeholders? Its practitioners or students?

If you'd like to be a part of this panel or this book, please email us at anthrolens (at) gmail.com or tweet to us @anthrolens

01 March 2018

Precarity in Canadian Academia... A Working Bibliography

Unfortunately, precarity in academia has become a well-worn cliché... not least of all for those of us living in this state of ontological insecurity.

In Canada, most university labourers -- whether tenured faculty, adjuncts, teaching, lab, or research assistants, librarians, as well as service staff -- are often protected by a labour union, yet we still face the challenges of the neoliberal university. This year, many unions in Ontario, for instance, bargained to renew our contracts. York University is currently poised on the precipice of a strike as the university admin and the contract academic labourers responsible for approximately 60% of teaching struggle to agree to a fair deal by the end of this week.

It's therefore very timely that we share anthropologist, Dr. Deidre Rose's Working Bibliography on Precarious Academic Labour in Canada.

Writing from her position as a member of what is becoming known as the precariat -- here describing adjunct, sessional, and other temporary academic labourers -- Rose invites others to help add to her years of research "on the conditions of contingent faculty." 

This annotated bibliography adds to the growing research and reflection on precarity in academia, and in anthropology, and is an important resource for thinking and teaching about the current state of academic labour.

Do you have resources or publications to add to Rose's bibliography, or our post? Follow Rose's Research Gate link to connect with her project, or tweet (@anthrolens) or email (anthrolens@gmail.com) us to add to our links below!

Quick links and further reading:

Precarity in the Canadian context:
Precarity in American anthropology: