2015 Call for Papers

Contingency and Commitment
The Seventh Annual UC Irvine “Anthropology in Transit” Graduate Student Conference
Conference Dates: May 1-2, 2015
Deadline for Submission: March 1, 2015

The Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine invites abstracts for panels and workshops for participation in the seventh installment of our “Anthropology in Transit” conference series, titled ‘Contingency and Commitment’. This year’s conference will feature keynote speaker James Ferguson, Susan S and William H Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University.

Anthropological narratives are often framed in terms of connections, engagements, and transcending the boundaries between ‘self’ and ‘other’. Yet as ethnographers we often encounter contingency and contradictions, not only in the processes and practices we study but also in the course of fieldwork itself. James Ferguson’s work has been essential in helping us grapple with the contradictions latent in narratives of modernity, development, and neoliberalism, highlighting the importance of leaving space for creative reinterpretation. Taking inspiration from his scholarship, this year we reflect on the politics of contemporary ethnography, and the theoretical and methodological approaches that may help us account for the messiness of ethnographic worlds. We welcome contributions from all areas of anthropological inquiry as we consider our ethnographic work through this lens. With this theme, possible questions for exploration include:

How are the influential metanarratives of our time (e.g. neoliberalism, scientific progress, racial difference, crisis) produced, reinforced, and contested? How do these narratives lend a quality of finality to ethnographic objects such as law, number, and fact and how might we trouble this certitude? What kinds of gaps and relations emerge from incongruence between institutional promises and everyday life? What tools, logics and practices do people use in order to make sense of transition and contingency? How as anthropologists can we engage our own commitments while also remaining open to possibility and contingency?

Conference activities begin the morning of Friday, May 1st, and end the afternoon of Saturday, May 2nd. Events will be held on the UC Irvine campus and surrounding areas within walking distance. Accommodations and on-campus parking will be available with UC Irvine graduate students. For panel presentations, we invite papers that engage with anthropological methods and theory, and we especially welcome submissions from graduate students who have not yet presented their work at a major conference. For workshops, small groups of graduate student participants and faculty members will discuss students’ developing projects and provide feedback.

Guidelines for Submission:
All applicants should submit the following materials as a Word or PDF attachment to anthropologyintransit@gmail.com by March 1: participant’s name, academic affiliation, and contact information; and 3-5 descriptive keywords for proposal paper or project. For paper presenters, please also submit: a paper abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief (1-2 line max) description of how the proposed paper fits in the presenter’s larger project. For workshop participants, please also submit a one page project summary.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by March 15. Submission of a full paper is required no later than two weeks prior to the start of the conference. Questions, concerns, and comments may be directed to anthropologyintransit@gmail.com.

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