CFP “The Nomadism of Social Anthropologists” Midterm Conference of the Europeanist Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) – jointly held with the Border Crossings Network 26-27th of April 2013, Bucharest, Romania
While anthropologists of the past decades have devoted increasing attention both to questions of reflexivity and to people “on the move” such as migrants, relatively little attention has focused on the geographical and cultural movement of social anthropologists themselves, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Even if there is growing interest in non-hegemonic anthropologies by scholars who have often lived in several countries (esp. Daveluy and Dorias 2010; Ribeiro and Escobar 2006) and recent work on “the ethnographic self as resource” (Collins and Gallinat 2010) argues that anthropologists’ personal experiences provide potentially insightful ethnographic data that can enrich their scientific analysis, the consequences of past and present anthropologists’ nomadism on their own research – including their training, career and grant opportunities – have not been thoroughly analysed. It is common knowledge that today, in Europe and beyond, being ”on the move” has increasingly become a part of many anthropologists’ lives. Possibilities for academic nomadism exist in the student years through the EU Erasmus programme and joint PhDs ('cotutelles'), and continue into professional academic life due to the scarcity of academic positions, hyper-specialisation, the exigencies of funding and the constraints of funding criteria (see for example the EU’s Marie Curie programs) or to simple anthropological curiosity. While not being restricted to anthropologists, this mobile mode of life has particular consequences for the scientific work of anthropologists, from how they perceive relationships in the field to the ways in which they envisage their writing, from the need to develop coping strategies faced to continually changing research groups to the difficult adaptation to a new foreign audience. Questions of fundamental and applied research as well as of neutrality, engagement and militantism are but some issues on which anthropologists’ personal trajectories weigh heavily.
This conference seeks original theoretical and personal reflections about how academic nomadism through different countries, cultures and continents affects the practices, day-to-day experiences and theoretical approaches of social anthropologists (that include but are not limited to the domain of their training, teaching and research). We invite contributors to consider some of the questions below:
- What motivates future anthropologists to seek training in one country instead of another?
- How does exposure to anthropology as practiced in several countries influence their research: the topics that anthropologists study, the theoretical approaches they privilege and the language(s) and audience(s) they publish in and for?
- How do larger historical and political issues (e.g. post-socialism, former British and French colonial presence, American empire, regional traditions such as in Latin America) play into the larger world in which anthropologists live and research, and influence their theoretical approaches?
- What kinds of moral and ethical issues are involved when the researcher is based in several countries, or has to negotiate different ethical standards between the country of one’s host institution and that of one's fieldwork, while having been socialised in yet another ethical mode?
- How does the researcher negotiate his or her figure of rootlessness in “stable” field environments?
As the professional anthropologist as an academic and intellectual migrant is not a completely new character, analyses of historical material on 20th century anthropologists is welcome.
Please send 400-word abstracts in English by the 15th of January 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The conference will be held jointly with the Border Crossings Network's Regional Conference (http://www.border-crossings.eu) in Bucharest on 26-27 of April 2013. A limited amount of funding should be available for hotel and transport for EASA’s Europeanist Network members.
Lorena Anton, University of Bordeaux (France)
Monica Heintz, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (France)
Samuel Shapiro, University of Auckland (New Zealand)