Sovereignty, 2004

SCA Biannual Meeting


April 30 + May 1, 2004

Governor Hotel, Portland, OR

For more information, contact Bruce Grant (Swarthmore C) or Lisa Rofel (UC Santa Cruz), organizers.

It is commonplace to remark that globalization everyday rewrites the bounds of politics, persons, and nature. As scholars we are left to track and understand, necessarily, the artefacts of these continual remakings.

Inviting the most compelling inquiries into emergent sovereignties today, the SCA Spring 2004 meeting looks to provoke discussion on social orders new and old.

Etymologies tell us that "sovereign," from the popular Latin,superanus, marks the state of the sublime, the sacred on earth, the above, but not quite. Over the last decade, scholars have pressed at the limits of this mobile definition, with its mix of divine promise and mortal panic. The sovereign has the power to name, to mark reality, to establish coin, to be the equivalence by which value is made. But the union of reason, capital, and violence that normally endows sovereign power is hardly economical. Sovereign markers create exceptions and emergencies which exist both inside and outside of that power. Sovereign markers excel, stand out, exceed, and overwhelm. What are their premises, and what are their after-effects? In what sense might sovereign power become a spectral presence whose mimesis links it to powerful forgeries? When ideas of the sacred are entwined with sovereign power, and life itself becomes the sacred terrain for forms of governance, potentially catastrophic regimes can emerge in the name of protecting “bare” life. Debates about the legal ambiguities built into sovereignty, in turn, raise questions about the violence afforded the modern state toward its own citizens. But what of the potential disruptions to this uneasy coherence of sovereignty and internal governance? How are distinctive sovereignties differently localized or articulated in relation to one another? How do the universalizing premises of scholarship and politics of sovereignty get mobilized to travel across differences, even as they are in constant reformulation through those very encounters?

Among the themes invited for individual paper and panel proposals are the intersections of power in places, bodies, and orders; divinities; organized and disorganized religions; new imperialisms and new NGO humanisms; the power to name; the making of rules and the exceptions to rule; law, fear, and violence; security and secrecy; the exclusions and inclusions of citizenship and censorship; genders, sexualities, and the theory of rights; queering sovereign realms; the implausibilities and excesses that underscore power in its parodic realisms; coin, currency, value and the transcendence of nation-state idioms in global markets; scientific imaginaries and the rule of knowledge; spaces, boundaries, and the markings of the deterritorial. In these contexts, we ask where anthropology makes its voices in these conversations, and what methods we take to better do our work.

In addition to proposed panels, featured speakers in organized plenaries and workshops include: Ana Alonso, Veena Das, James Ferguson, Saba Mahmood, Joe Masco, Bill Maurer, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Kath Weston. The David Schneider Memorial Lecture will be given by Mahmood Mamdani, with Paulla Ebron and Donald Moore as discussants.


Friday, April 30th, 2004


Plenary Session I, Location: Renaissance Room, 3rd Floor

Chair: Bruce Grant (Swarthmore C)

James Ferguson (Stanford U) Governing Extraction: New Spatializations of Order and Disorder in Neoliberal Africa

Bill Maurer (UC Irvine) Due Diligence: Scienter and Reasonable Care…Offshore

Kath Weston (Harvard U) Elsewheres of a Sovereign State: The Offshore as Incarceration

Friday, April 30th


States of Science, Location: Renaissance Room, 3rd Floor

Chair: Mike Fortun (RPI)

Mike and Kim Fortun (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) US Toxicology in Time and Culture

Omar al-Dewachi (Harvard U) Doctors without/in Empires: Empire, State, and the Creation of the National Medical Doctor in Iraq

Kaushik Sunder Rajan (UC Irvine) Sovereign Consumers/Sovereign States: Transnational Configuration of Genomics

Mei Zhan (UC Irvine) Civet Cats, Fried Grasshoppers, and David Beckham's Pajamas: making bodies in post-SARS China

Tim Choy (Ohio State U) Articulated Knowledges: Experts, Environments, Emergents

Sovereign Terrain: Governing Bodies and Places in Crisis, Location: Alder West Room, 1st Floor

Chair: Ilana Feldman (Columbia U)

Miriam Ticktin (Colombia U) Sovereignty, Suffering and Citizenship Considered

Doug Smith (Stanford U) The Homeless Specter in the No-Places of Sovereignty

Rebecca Stein (Duke U) Israeli Leisure and the Question of Palestine (Again)

Ilana Feldman (Columbia U) Subjects of Aid: Humanitarianism and Sovereignty in Gaza

Secrecy and Sovereignty, Location: Alder East Room, 1st Floor

Chair: Thomas Blom Hansen (U Edinburgh)

Simon Turner (Roskilde U, Denmark) Secrets and Lies in Burundi Politics

Karen Coelho (U Arizona) Water Engineers Digging for Truth, Policing the Lines

Tresa Thomas (U New Mexico) The Threatened Sovereign: Strategies of Difference and Imperialism in the War on Drugs at the US-Mexico Border

Workshop 1: The Techne of Practice and the Logic of Sovereignty, Location: Vault Room, 2nd Floor

Saba Mahmood (UC Berkeley) (Leader) with Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard C) and Bill Maurer (UC Irvine)

(advance registration is not required for workshops)

A Roundtable on Human Subjects Issues, Location: Fireside Room, 2nd Floor

(Session runs from 11:00am—12:00pm only)

Stuart Plattner (NSF)

Dan Segal (Pitzer C)

Deborah Heath (Lewis and Clark C)

Friday, April 30th


Transcendent Sovereign: Religious Refashionings between Diaspora and Empire, Location: Renaissance Room, 3rd Floor

Chair: Engseng Ho (Harvard U)

Tamara Neuman (Independent) The Pursuit of Religious Sovereignty in the West Bank

Engseng Ho (Harvard U) Ratcheting the Rhetoric Upwards

Manduhai Buyandelgeriyn (Harvard U) Sacrificing for the Nation? Memory, Fear, and the Desire for Sovereignty

Tashi Rabgey (Harvard U) Discussant

Moving Beyond Sovereignty, Race, and Citizenship: Theorizing Indigenous Autonomy in the 21st Century, Location: Alder West Room, 1st Floor

Chairs: Darren Ranco (Dartmouth C) and Audra Simpson (Cornell U) 

Darren Ranco (Dartmouth C) Procedural Justice, Normative Science, and Rights: An Indigenous Critique of Liberal Modes of Citizenship

Jessica Catellino (School of American Research and New York U) Relational Sovereignty and Florida Seminole Casinos: Toward a Theory of Sovereignty as Interdependency

Audra Simpson (Cornell U) Sovereignties Colliding: Mohawk Border Crossing, the International Boundary Line and The Racialized Life of Treaty

Mishuana Goeman (UC Berkeley) Sovereignty, Mapping, and Native American Cultural Production

Taiaiake Alfred (U Victoria) Discussant

Incarcerations and Exceptions, Location: Alder East Room, 1st Floor

Chair: Bonnie Urciuoli (Hamilton C)

Arzoo Osanloo (U Washington) The Modern State, Sovereign Authority, and Human Rights: What is the Measure of Mercy?

Lorna A. Rhodes (U Washington) Changing the Subject: Conversation and Control in Supermaximum Confinement

Peter Rawtischer (UC Berkeley) Kidnapped Body Politics

Kristen Drybread (Columbia U) Evil Enters the Garden: A Case of Murder Inside a Juvenile Reformatory

Tahir Naqvi (UC Berkeley) The Multiverse of Ungovernability: Crime, Democracy, and Globalization in Contemporary Karachi

Qualifying Citizens: Life around the Law, Location: Vault Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Lieba Faier (UC San Diego)

Lieba Faier (UC San Diego) Filipina Migrants, Immigration Laws, and Domestic Exceptions in Contemporary Japan

Cathryn Clayton (Harvard U/U Macau) The Nonexistent Macanese

Falu Bakrania (SUNY Binghamton) Reconfiguring Cultural Citizenship: The Subaltern Nationalisms of British Asian Youth Cultures

Anand Pandian (UC Berkeley) Governing the Bestial Heart: On Crime, Descent, and Deceit in Postcolonial South India

Peter Cuasay (U Washington) Sovereignty Beneath the Fold: Law as Deferral in the Philippines

Border Regimes, Location: Fireside Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Ana Alonso (U Arizona)

Brenda Chalfin (U Florida) Sovereignty as Industry: Producing a Global Customs Regime

Anita Hannig (Reed C) Les Indésirables: Encountering Sans Papiers in the Interstices of Knowledge, Power, and Space

Netta van Vliet (Duke U) State of Exception: The Mas'ha Campsite and the Fight Against Israel's "Separation Wall"

Tamar Wilson (U Missouri, St. Louis) Anomaly as Political Threat: Undocumented Mexicans in the United States

Friday, April 30th


David Schneider Memorial Lecture, Location: Billiard Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Lisa Rofel (UC Santa Cruz)

Mahmood Mamdani (Columbia U) Post-Apartheid Perspectives on America and Israel

Paulla Ebron (Stanford U) Discussant

Donald Moore (UC Berkeley) Discussant

Friday, April 30th


Reception, Location: Renaissance Room, 3rd Floor

Cash Bar, Hors d’Oeuvres

Saturday, May 1st, 2004


Plenary Session II, Location: Billiard Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Pauline Strong (UT Austin; President of SCA)

Ana Alonso (U Arizona) Spectacles of Sovereignty: The Importance of the Visual in Forms of Governmentality

Veena Das (Johns Hopkins U) Sovereignty, Kinship, and the Argument from Nature

Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia U) Loving v. the State of Empire

Saturday, May 1st


Subverting the Currency of the Sovereign, Location: Library, 2nd Floor

Chair: Robert Foster (U Rochester)

Beth Notar (Trinity C) Revolutionary Reclaiming: Guerrilla Currencies in 1930s China

Allison Truitt (Cornell U) Recovering Venerable Ho' Notes

Jane I. Guyer (Johns Hopkins U) National Idioms for Monetarism: the Nigerian Economy Represented under Military Rule

Sovereignty in an Age of Democracy, Location: Alder West Room, 1st Floor

Chair: Ilana Gershon (Yale U)

Ilana Gershon (Yale U) The Paradox in the Parliament: When Maori Chiefs are Members of the NZ Parliament

Hoon Song (U Notre Dame) Trash and the Fetus: Negativity in a Right-Wing Imaginary 

Thomas Blom Hansen (U Edinburgh) Performers of Sovereignty: On the Privatization of Security in Urban South Africa

Eric Worby (Yale U) Night of the Chikwambo: Promiscuous Sovereignty and the Democracy of Terror

Conflicted Boundaries of Sovereignty: Expansions, Fragmentations, Alternatives, Location: Vault Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Ismael Vaccara (U Washington)

Ismael Vaccaro (U Washington) Chair

Heather Lazrus (U Washington) Buoyant Sovereignties: Global Climate Change and Tuvaluan Sovereignty

Courtney Carothers (U Washington) Creating Sovereign Experts

Julie Brugger (U Washington) Where “the People” are Sovereign: Public Land and the American Political Imagination

Amanda Poole (U Washington) Displaced Sovereignty: Repatriation, Diaspora, and the Making of the Eritrean Nation-State

Brian Tilt (U Washington) Locating the State: Sovereignty and Resistance in Personal Narratives about Industrial Pollution in Sichuan, China

Modernity and Divinity: Religion Inside and Outside Sovereignty, Location: Fireside Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Mayfair Yang (UC Santa Barbara)

Mayfair Yang (UC Santa Barbara) Secular Sovereignty and Popular Religion in China

Mandana Limbert (Queens C/CUNY) Questions of Legitimacy in a Sultanate and its Spectral Theocracy

Esa Ozyurek (UC San Diego) The Headscarf Issue in the Turkish Parliament: Reflections on Center of Power in a Democracy’

Jeanette Edwards (U Manchester) "You Knit Me in My Mother's Womb": English Baptist Ministers and New Reproductive Technologies

Saturday, May 1st


Neoliberal Gambles, Location: Library, 2nd Floor

Chair: Carol Silverman (U Oregon)

Maya Parson (UNC Chapel Hill) Spectral Sovereigns, Neoliberal Leviathans: State, Citizen and Social Contract in Post-Revolutionary Nicaragua

Emma Kowal (U Melbourne, UC Berkeley) Modernity and other Lost Objects: Suspicion and Desire in Australian Indigenous Health

Sven Ouzman (UC Berkeley and National Museum of South Africa) The Nature of Stewardship: Contemporary Challenges to Native Sovereignty

Kim Christen (UC Santa Cruz) Cybersovereignties: Networking the Outback

Carol Silverman (U Oregon) Discussant

Spectral Forms and National Sovereignty, Location: Alder West Room, 1st Floor

Chair: Ann Anagnost (U Washington)

Naveeda Khan (Johns Hopkins U) A Consideration of National Sovereignty through the Friendship of Children and Jinns

Lisa Mitchell (Bowdoin C) The Appearance of Affect: Death and the Re-Making of Sovereignty in Telugu South India

Deirdre Leong de la Cruz (Columbia U) First Filipino Apparitions: The Virgin Mary and the Emergent Nation in Late 19th Century

Dard Neuman (Columbia U) From Native Informant to Celebrity: Technology, Nation and the Hindustani Musician

Workshop 2: Engaging the “New Normal”: Terror, Homeland Security, and American Power, Location: Vault Room, 2nd Floor 

Joe Masco (U Chicago) (Leader) with Monica Schoch-Spana (U Pittsburgh)

(advance registration is not required for workshops)

Globalization Sovereignty and the Remaking of Power, Location: Fireside Room, 2nd Floor

Chair: Kamari Clarke (Yale U)

Kamari Clarke (Yale U) Sovereignty Revisited: Universal Personhood and the Undermining Citizenship

George Baca (Goucher C) U.S. Military Power and Myths of Popular Sovereignty: The State of the Exception in American Nationalism

Guillaume Boccara (CNRS, Paris) Exotic Clients or Uncivilized Terrorists: State Sovereignty, Global Governmentality and Indigenous Peoples in Chile

Saturday, May 1st


Closing Session: Polemics, Location: Alder West Room, 1st Floor

Chairs: Bruce Grant (Swarthmore C) and Lisa Rofel (UC Santa Cruz)