The 112th AAA Annual meeting will be held at the Chicago Hilton November 20-24, 2013 in Chicago IL. The 2013 annual meeting theme Future Publics, Current Engagements invites discussions about how anthropological theory and method can provide insight into the human past and emerging future.
Anthropologists have long been engaged with diverse publics and with other social sciences. The influence of anthropological methods, concepts and research is growing, as witnessed by the fact that over half of us are now employed outside the academy. Our journals are experimenting with new formats to link research to contemporary concerns. We engage with rapidly changing media technologies to reach diverse audiences and explore different pathways to activism, collaboration, and scholarship. By locating the human at the center of its inquiry, anthropology through all of its fields provide crucial methodological and political insights for other disciplines.
Chicago, the site for the 2013 AAA Annual Meeting, was a powerhouse of the American 20th century. At the confluence of diverse migrations, the city was the location for experiments in commerce, architecture, technology and the human sciences. It was the intellectual inspiration for the modeling of socio-ecological relationships. Today, Chicago is once again at the forefront of thinking about urban places, social movements, the political machinery, and the role of technology in shaping modern publics and life. As elsewhere, its peoples traverse the fraught terrain of changing economic conditions, calling anthropologists to reflect on our role in the real and painful struggles of cities and their residents.
The 2013 annual meeting is dedicated to examining our efforts to transform our disciplinary identity and capacity in terms of knowledge production and relevance in a world of radical change. What is the nature of anthropological knowledge in a world of heterogeneity, interconnectivity and risk? How can we rethink collaborations beyond the categories of researcher/subject, expert/lay, or anthropologist/other? How can we fruitfully participate in interdisciplinary exchanges and projects that engage big questions? How do we nurture and support younger scholars who are struggling to expand the questions and parameters that define the field for a new century? How do ethical considerations shape the practice but also the substance of our scholarship in an imperiled world?
We are at a historical moment when there is healthy interdisciplinary dialogue about theory and method and a search for effective methods for studying globalized futures. Anthropology can take a lead in confronting questions of the human, culture and life itself that engages many disciplines.
We are planning a lively conference to consider these questions, among others. In addition to the standard modes of dialogue and representation, we will offer innovative ways to engage Chicago audiences with opportunities to present in the “public square,” converse with curious, engaged residents, and view the city in a different light. We hope to create a space for advancing anthropological thought to new domains.