The changing landscapes of work and labor across contemporary settings demand anthropological and ethnographic attention in ways both familiar and new. From migrant farm workers to fears over technological unemployment, the increasing precarity of wage labor requires anthropologists to reconceptualize the activities, spaces, and bodies that are traditionally associated with labor and labor practices. In grappling with these issues, our conference seeks to open up a dialogue to reimagine the possibilities of an ethnographic study of labor, as well as discuss the political, historical, and ethical ramifications that come along with such a study. From Marxist-based peasant studies to the more recent turns towards feminist and affective understandings of labor, as well as science and technology studies, we contemplate the numerous ways in which scholars have been been speaking about the issues affecting a wide variety of workers over time. This conference seeks to mobilize this diversity in thought so as to rethink and reimagine how scholars can engage with the study of labor. We invite submissions from graduate students across a variety of disciplines who work with and think about labor in all its potential forms. We additionally encourage the combination and reconceptualization of old and new theoretical frameworks to think through the current issues circulating labor and laborers. With this conference, we seek to
rearticulate the complex relationships between scholarship, advocacy, and the increasingly varied social strata of the workers we study, especially as their spaces of work change and our methodologies augment to accommodate the unexpected.
We will structure a series of roundtables organized around the themes of your submitted work. Each presenter will have 10-15 minutes followed by a discussion. For example, some themes may include, but are not limited to, anthropology’s relationship to the working class as well as those who “study up”, the permeability of paid and unpaid forms of labor, expertise, activism, and transnational and diasporic labor communities, intimate and affective labor, digital/virtual labor, and the neoliberalization of university and academic work.
Keynote Speakers: Professor Akhil Gupta and Professor Purnima Mankekar
One should submit a statement of interest of no more than 300 words by November
21st, 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, affiliation,
3-5 keywords, a concise description of your work, as well as a short biosketch. We welcome submissions from Masters and PhD students at all stages of their graduate careers. Conference activities begin the morning of Friday, February 22, 2019 and end the afternoon of Saturday, February 23, 2019. Events will be held on the UC Irvine campus. Accommodations with UC Irvine graduate students and on campus parking will be available. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by December 12th, 2018.