Call for papers

CFP [AAA 2018], Secura: Security as the Absence (and Presence) of Care

Please kindly consider the following panel proposal for the 2018 Annual Meeting for the American Anthropological Association (November 14-18, 2018 in San Jose, California). 

Panel Title: Secura: Security as the Absence (and Presence) of Care

Panel Organizer: Alex Jong-Seok Lee (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel Discussant: Jeffrey T. Martin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Security is ubiquitous. Didier Fassin describes it as “a keyword and a leitmotiv of national and international policies in many domains” (Security: A Conversation with the Authors 2008). Although traditionally within the purview of International Studies, security has emerged as a popular subject of anthropological study. Specifically, anthropology has enhanced our understanding of security’s relationship with topics like urban policing (Fassin 2013), migration and human rights (Burrell 2010), the National Security State (Price 1998), and biological weapons (i.e., “biosecurity”) (Collier, Lakoff, and Rabinow 2004)—among many others. Yet, security’s meaning(s) often remain(s) ill-defined. Likewise, most studies of security (though valuable) tend to focus on core concepts like the state, violence, war, and peace while the idea of security itself can produce a “masculine bias” (Sjoberg 2009). Hence, as an idea and ideal, security continually must be unpacked and situated within specific historical, political, and social contexts (Stewart and Choi 2012).

Etymologically, security denotes the removal (se) of “concern” or “care” (cura) and, therefore, implies a condition that is either carefree or careless (Hamilton 2013). That is, the condition of feeling secure necessitates the work of others in producing care. Recent anthropologies of care (Raijman and Schammah-Gesser 2003; Buch 2013; Baldassar and Merla 2013), chiefly those highlighting gendered migrant care labor, have grown. But few have foregrounded the complementary relationship between ostensibly distinct practices of care and security. How might viewing care—both in its presence and absence—and (in)security as mutually constitutive unveil the (invisible) feminized work behind managing individual and collective conflict? Similarly, how might posing security as a masculinized display of (un)caring practices highlight the performative dimensions of the former?

This panel follows interventions by feminist security studies (Ahall 2015), as well as calls for more critical comparative ethnographies of security (Goldstein 2010). It seeks papers that advance more inclusive understandings of security that highlight the centrality of gender and the everyday situatedness of securitizing acts. We ask: within which diverse local work contexts might an “ethics of care” (Gilligan 1982)—the theory that care’s core elements of sustaining human relationships and dependencies should achieve moral significance–manifest as a viable alternative to a rationalized perspective of “indifference” (Herzfeld 1992) and justice undergirding conventional logics of security? What are the conceptual and practical implications of productively disrupting pat distinctions between the labor of care and security? For example, in what ways might care labor also serve to (re)produce modes of social inclusion and exclusion? Likewise, how might viewing security as embodied acts of absent (and present) care shift our knowledge about global regimes of gendered (e.g., care, affective, intimate) labor, precarity, and agency?

If you would like to participate in this panel, please send a 250-word abstract of your paper presentation by Friday, April 9, 2018 to Alex Lee ( 

Announcements, Call for papers

CFP: Anthropology of Police: Techno-politics, Reform, and Questions of Violence #AAA2017

Call for Papers for AAA 2017 Meeting in Washington, DC2017_meeting_250

Session Title: Anthropology of Police: Techno-politics, Reform, and Questions of Violence

Organizer: Hayal Akarsu

Discussant: Kevin G. Karpiak Continue reading

Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Call for papers, Uncategorized

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus Project, Week 17: Riché Barnes on #BlackFamiliesMatter, Especially Black Mothers

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to relaunch the second semester of an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this entry,  Riché Barnes discusses #BlackFamiliesMatter, especially Black mothers.

week 17.jpg

I was just about done with this blogpost when given this weekend and the past week’s news I had to regroup. The Trump administration’s war on families picked up momentum this week with yet another assault. As I watched people gathered in airports with hand-made signs reading “we want grandma,” while journalists interviewed people waiting, hoping, and praying their loved ones would not be detained, or worse, deported. As I heard people repeatedly say, “we talked to him as he was boarding the plane,” but we haven’t heard from him since,” I was immediately taken to that old refrain of not hearing or getting word, but somehow knowing something awful had happened and it would change the course of your life forever. Continue reading

Call for papers

CFP: Police Un/Bound: new ethnographies of policing at #AAA2016

Organizers: Victor Kumar (Johns Hopkins U) and Amrita Ibrahim (Georgetown U)

At a time when many aspects of law enforcement are coming under increased scrutiny, anthropologists have a renewed opportunity to investigate questions around police and policing. What can anthropology bring to an area of research whose terms, methods, and theories have traditionally been set by the disciplines of sociology and criminal justice? What approaches allow us to navigate this contested domain and understand its forms and effects inside and out, from those “on the beat,” to the recipients of police terror, from activists calling for justice to those whose radical alterity renders them “no-bodies” (Silva 2009)? How does an anthropologist’s loyalty to the state (our law-abidingness) affect the ways they take up our positions with respect to policing? One answer suggested by some anthropologists of police (Garriott 2013, Karpiak 2016) is that investigations are directed at the boundaries of police as a field of inquiry. Rather than assuming the police to be a bounded field site, it can be understood instead as a refractive lens that extends beyond policing as an official institution and reverberates in response to broader social phenomena. Others have argued that we should seek to develop new lexicons to describe, denounce, and theorize racialized policing practices and put them in the context of a broader security-knowledge system that informs subjugation at large (James 2006, Alves and Vargas 2015). In this panel, we seek new critical perspectives on longstanding issues involving police: violence, the body, community, citizenship, and rights. We are interested in exploring how issues such as racial and sexualized violence are positioned across the permeable boundaries between the police and subjects of enforcement without discarding critiques coming out of both the popular and scholarly spheres that have identified forms of structural violence in police work. Whether dropping the notion of a clear and fixed boundary (a “thin blue line”) or reanalyzing the police as operating within regimes of domination, ethnography has the potential to show how policing is both continuous and distinct from the broader social contexts in which it is embedded and attend to the diverse forms of life that fall under the heading of police. We argue that such modes of anthropological understanding can ultimately contribute greatly to projects of police reform or abolition.​

Please submit your abstract of 250 words to Amrita Ibrahim at and Victor Kumar at by [UPDATE] April 13, 2016

Call for papers

CFP for a Special Issue: Thinking through police, producing theory: the new anthropology of police as mode of critical thought

Abstracts are currently being solicited for a special issue of the journal Theoretical Criminology on the theme “the new anthropology of police as a mode of critical thought” (see full description below). Send abstracts for consideration by August 1st 2015 to Full drafts should be ready to submit for peer review by September 15th, 2015.

Continue reading

Announcements, Call for papers

CFP: Making Races, Breaking Cases: A dialogue on science and society in the U.S. criminal justice context

(This call for papers is for a panel to be held at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Denver this November.)

How do police “make” race? How do people experience racial bias as an element in police power? This panel initiates discussion of these questions among anthropologists from across the four fields, in dialogue with scholars from other disciplines. We bring together forensic anthropologists, forensic scientists, political and legal anthropologists, and scholars of information technology to describe, discuss and reflect upon the institutional dynamics of race-making and racial bias in the United States criminal justice system. Papers will be given on (a) the interface of biological science and racial discourse in the production of police evidence; (b) the ways in which communities speak back to and engage with police archival records and evidence; (c) the place of race in legal theory and courtroom reality; d) latent bias in perceptions of race and racism and its potential impact on investigations. By merging critical theory with a diverse array of data—from technology to biology—we aspire to frame an integrated research agenda to address two major issues 1) the multidimensional sources from which the current state of racial biases in the criminal justice institute have stemmed/are sustained, and 2) the (in)visible ways in which those who are policed experience these biases.

We are looking for 1-2 additional people to join this conversation. If you would be interested in contributing a paper to this panel, please send a paper abstract ideas to before April 7.