September and October Digest

It’s been a busy fall for the Society for Cultural Anthropology. We are preparing for some big events this winter, including our many, many events at the American Anthropological Association’s 2013 annual meeting in Chicago, and the our forthcoming shift to Open Access publishing, with the first issue to be published in February. But, in the meantime, we’re not just sitting around waiting.

In addition to the publication of the November issue of Cultural Anthropology, the past months has seen much new content on our website, from our latest Hot Spot on Gezi Park to new Field Notes series, the screening of ethnographic movies and release of new audio podcasts. As always, to stay current on the latest activities, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit regularly. In case you missed anything, here is what we’ve been up to during the past two months.

SCA Announcements / News

-- The Society for Cultural Anthropology announced our 2014 biannual meeting on the theme: “The Ends of Work.” We invite a wide-ranging engagement with the startling transformations of work today. Read the call for contributors on our website and start thinking about panels and papers you would like to present in Detroit, MI.

-- For those of you coming to Chicago in November, make time during your AAA visit for the SCA’s Culture@Large panel: Conversations with W.J.T. Mitchell. “Iconology Meets Anthropology: Totemism, Fetishism, Iconoclasm.” The panel starts at 1:45 PM on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

-- Also at the AAAs, help celebrate the hard work of our editors, Charles Piot and Anne Allison, and welcome Cultural Anthropology’s incoming editor, Dominic Boyer, at the SCA Business Meeting and our event “Celebrating Open Access with Rice and SCA.” The meeting starts at 6:15 PM on November 22, 2013.

Cultural Anthropology

-- The November issue features a series of articles reflecting on the publics created, engaged, and imagined through ethnographic writing. The series includes pieces by João Biehl, Michal Osterweil, Didier Fassin, and Vincent Debaene. The issue also includes original research articles on water meters in South Africa (Antina von Schnitzler), the environment of the BP Oil Spill (David Bond), human rights and harm reduction in Russia (Jarrett Zigon), the secularism of cryonics in the United States (Abou Farman), and slum clearnance in India (Ursula Rao).

Hot Spots
Hot Spots gives contributors an opportunity to comment on pressing contemporary societal issues from a range of perspectives.

-- For our latest Hot Spot, Umut Yıldırım and Yael Navaro-Yashin edit a collection of 18 articles about the anti-government protests that first sprang up in Gezi Park, Taksim, in Istanbul in the summer of 2013, and later spread to much of Turkey.

Field Notes
Each Field Notes series asks four different authors to explore, over the course of one month, the themes and issues that occupy us as we try to make sense of what we see, hear, and experience as ethnographers, teachers, and public scholars.

-- In September, four scholars considered the Politics of Memory. How do the claims made in the name of memory enable and constrain the emergence of new kinds of politics, publics, and feelings of national belonging? And just what do we mean when we talk about a politics of memory in the first place?  

* Rosalind Shaw opened this round of Field Notes with “Provocation: Futurizing Memory,” in which she challenged us to think about whether a pervasive focus on the past facilitate an unintended denial of co-futurity.

* Noa Vaisman’s “Translation: Temporality and Memory” draws on her fieldwork in Argentina to explore the residues, the unexpected layers of history always left behind in translations.

* Sultan Doughan explores how Holocaust education for Muslim immigrants in Germany can be used in pursuit of Islamophobic policies in “Deviation: The Present Orders.”

* David Berliner wraps things up with “Integration: Memory and Transformative Durability,” in which he calls for conceptual clarity in the use of the term “memory.”

-- In October, a new round of authors considered the theme of Aging. What has anthropology contributed to the study of aging? How does aging and associated processes interact, constrain, or influence social relationships and perceptions of selfhood? What does it provoke?

* Emily Wentzell writes that "acknowledging aging challenges fictions of stability and stasism," in her “Provocation: Aging.”

* Jordan Lewis discusses the relationship between "eldership" and aging in his “Translation: Successful Aging.”

* Janelle Christensen talks about “The Desire for Autonomy” in her Deviation.

* Jason Danely ends the series writing about the “chorus of care” which integrates the elderly with the social in “Integration: Aging Cultures and Communities.”

AnthroPod, the podcast of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, features interviews with current anthropologists about their work, current events, and their experiences in the field. You can find AnthroPod at SoundCloud, subscribe to it on iTunes, or use our RSS feed. Suggestions for future episodes and comments on past episodes can be sent to:

-- Episode 3 features and interview with Kamari Maxine Clarke on cultural citizenship in the black Atlantic world and her vision for the future of ethnographic research.

-- On episode 4, Saida Hodzic, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University, discusses how a 2006 World Health Organization report about female genital cutting that was intended to counter alarmist discourses about female genital cutting ended up legitimizing them in the name of science. 

Screening Room:
Screening room gives visitors to the SCA’s website the chance to view new ethnographic films for free for a limited period of time. Interviews with the filmmakers, teaching tools, and short clips from the movie can still be found at our website even after screening times expire. 

-- In September, Screening Room featured Gods and Kings, a feature film by Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears exploring the unique Disfrazdance in the predominantly Maya town of Momostenango, Guatemala. See the trailer and read an interview with the filmmakers:

-- We also featured Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens by Deborah A. Thomas, John L. Jackson Jr, and Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn." The film delves into the ways violence, poverty, and beliefs are entangled in post-colonial Jamaica. An interview with the filmmakers and related media are still available at our website.