CFP – “Discipline and Punishment” – Society for the Anthropology of North America


Uncertain Futures
March 15-16, 2013
Durham, North Carolina

Conference Overview

North America seems to be at something of an impasse. Many of political projects, cultural movements, social imaginaries, and economic developments that have structured life in Mexico, Canada and the United States seem to have lost energy, and seem to be moving forward because of inertia alone. Moreover, we might question whether the concepts that have been used to interrogate North American life during the recent past–neoliberalism, late capitalism, postindustrialism, whiteness, postracialism, privatization, virtualization, revanchism, and militarization, to mention a few–are adequate in the face of new realities. Finally, as teachers, researchers and intellectuals, we must contend with new limits and potentialities for the production of knowledge in the context of an academy in rapid flux.

With all this in mind, we have selected “Uncertain Futures,” as the theme for the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s (SANA) bi-annual conference, which will be hosted by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on March 14-16, 2013. This conference aims to explore the uncertain futures envisioned by our informants, interlocutors, and research subjects and the uncertain futures augured by the processes we study. Moreover, this conference is intended to provide a space in which new visions of North Americanist anthropology can emerge. Whether in politics, culture, economics, or academia, uncertainty does not always portend strife: it also bears potential for positive, and often long-awaited, change.

Towards these ends, participants will enjoy a refreshing new approach that bucks the traditional panel-driven conference format by providing a variety of creative ways to present, analyze, and discuss critical issues in North American research. The 2013 conference will have three key features aimed at providing an environment of collegiality, academic citizenship, and sustained intellectual exchange:

The conference will be organized around several tracks. Each of these tracks will consist of a varied two-day program dedicated to sustained discussion and analysis of a particular topic of timely importance to North Americanist anthropology. Track topics should be broad enough to intrigue anyone working in North America, but specific enough for scholars to engage one another concerning their specializations. It is hoped that tracks will provide a variety of different forums for this discussion, including, but not limited to panel sessions, workshops, roundtables, performances, film-screening, and field-trips. Each track will have a track editor who will be responsible for the design and implemention of each track. For more on how to propose a track and on the responsibilities and rewards of being a track editor, see below.

Each day will culminate in a plenary session during which track participants will share emerging themes and observations from the day’s activities with all the conference participants. This real-time reporting will allow for intellectual cross-fertilization between tracks, and will provide an opportunity to begin to construct an agenda for future research theorization, and collaboration.

Also contributing to this conference’s uniqueness is our emphasis on academic citizenship – that is, our collective responsibility to participate in and contribute its overall success and momentum. With this in mind, SANA will be using a pay-what-you-like registration fee structure invites conference participants to place their own value on the experience and pay according to their own means. Conference registration will also cover some meals, in order to keep participants on-site and discussions flowing. In the spirit of SANA’s longstanding commitment to redressing academic inequalities and mentoring emerging scholars, we will offer several St. Clair Drake Student Travel Awards to MA and PhDs students participants. SANA will also launch the first ever Happy Leacock Travel Awards for under-employed PhDs who are adjunct and part-time faculty.

Call for papers

The Society for the Anthropology of North America is seeking papers for the 2013 bi-annual conference which will be hosted by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on March 14-16, 2013.

Paper abstracts should be submitted as an attachment to Rachel Wright, Conference Chair at by January 25, 2013. Participants will be notified by January 31. Questions may also be directed to this email address.

Given the desire to move away from the orthodox conference structure, papers may include a variety of activities, such as round tables, neighborhood tours, full-length paper presentations, performances, exhibits, screenings, and hands-on projects in addition to traditional panels. Participants should feel free to use media and art forms to present information in new ways.

We seek papers that contribute to the track of “Discipline and Punishment.” Please indicate that you would like to be considered for this track.

 DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT organized by Andrea Morrell (CUNY) & Maggie Dickinson (CUNY)

What do cultures of punishment – who is punished and how – tell us about power, inequality and the state? This track situates regimes of punishment and law within the broader political economy, and interrogates punishment as a fluid construction that can be mobilized in contradictory ways by numerous constituencies in various contexts.



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