GAA Biannual Conference 2013. 2nd - 5th October. Mainz University. Call for workshops:

Locations: anthropology in the academy, the workplace, and the public sphere

For quite some time, anthropology in Germany has been expanding, thanks to
consistently high rates of student enrolment, the creation of new academic chairs
and a growing demand for intercultural skills und anthropological expertise.
Given anthropology‟s engagement with both the political and epistemological
consequences of the post-colonial critique, will (and can) the discipline become
the vanguard of the academy? Or, should it remain on the margins, as a
discipline that destabilises and subverts the Euro-centric biases of neighbouring
disciplines? But in a post-modern world no longer geographically or
epistemologically structured by centre-periphery hierarchies, what is the raison
d‟être of a discipline traditionally devoted to the global periphery? On the other
hand, maybe there is a strong case precisely to the contrary? In such a
fractured, decentred world anthropology‟s established strengths might be what is
most needed: its attention to the hermeneutics of informal practices,
confounding realities and diverging domains of meaning. What are the
methodological and theoretical implications when anthropological fields of
enquiry are broadened – from the marginalised to the elites, from the peripheries
to the centres of global society? How do anthropologists deal with the conflicting
demands of their research ethos of unbiased understanding, on the one hand,
and, on the other hand, public expectations to take a political stand? To what
degree can or should anthropologists champion the interests of their
interlocutors? How can the increasing anthropological engagement in such areas
as development cooperation, international business or even the military be
reconciled with a disciplinary ethos that has tended to cast anthropologists as
critical observers of power rather than as parties to it? Can anthropology
continue to be a troublesome discipline and still prepare students for the job

The 2013 conference of the German Anthropological Association will explore
these questions and anthropology‟s ambivalent locations in the academy, the
professional world and the public sphere. In university contexts anthropologists
work increasingly in interdisciplinary networks. What consequences does this
have for the discipline‟s self-definition and its methods? Considering that
neighbouring disciplines have made participant observation and „ethnography‟
part of their own methodological repertoires, what is the added value of our
discipline? Most anthropology students go on to work outside the university.
What demands does this place on the anthropological curriculum? What aspects
of the discipline are relevant to graduates‟ professional lives? In what ways does
feedback from these professional contexts present new challenges and
opportunities for anthropological theory? In public debates on the integration of
immigrants and the challenges of multicultural society, civil war, failed states,
genocide, and other urgent socio-political or security issues, German
anthropologists only seldom make notable contributions. Should this reticence be
overcome, and, what would a “public anthropology” look like?

For the 2013 German Anthropological Association conference we welcome
contributions which attend to these and related questions. The thematic and
regional groups as well as all members of the GAA are invited to submit
workshop proposals that are in some way related to the conference theme.
Please submit your proposal along with an abstract (max. 250-300 words) as
well as the contact data of the workshop convenor(s).
The deadline for submissions is 31st August 2012.
In order encourage greater attendance of individual workshops and panels, the
organizers reserve the right to limit the total number of workshops as well as the
duration of individual workshops to a maximum of two sessions (of 90 minutes
each, with at least three but at most four contributions). Additionally, in keeping
with the established “two-role” rule, each participant may take on no more than
two active roles at the conference (such as present a paper and act as
discussant, convene a workshop and present a paper, etc.)

GAA – German Anthropological Association
c/o Institut fuer Ethnologie und Afrikastudien
Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz
Forum 6
55099 Mainz