ASA18: Sociality, matter, and the imagination: re-creating Anthropology

18-21 September 2018, University of Oxford
Conference convenors: tbd

The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth's 2018 conference will be jointly hosted by the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (SAME) of the University of Oxford, including the Pitt Rivers Museum, and the Department of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University. It will take place in Oxford, based in and around the Examination Schools, the High Street, Oxford, on 18th-21st September 2018.

The conference invites participants from all areas of anthropology and archaeology, aiming to encourage debate as widely as possible, across socio-cultural, material, visual, biological, forensic, cognitive, evolutionary, and linguistic fields. It also welcomes participants from anthropology, archaeology, and museum studies associations, and will provide a forum to take forward the ASA's proposal for a UK Anthropology Network (UKAN).

Theme

One of the major debates within anthropology broadly defined is the question of how to bridge approaches primarily concerned with the social, and those primarily focused on the material, the physical, or the biological. Much recent anthropology, from a variety of theoretical perspectives, seeks to overcome artificial conceptual divisions, either by proposing new (often hybrid) ontologies or simply by pursuing problems that challenge conventional boundaries. ASA2018 aims to address this key question directly. If sociality, matter, and the imagination are reconsidered from multiple perspectives across the discipline, how might we renew and re-create anthropology? What kinds of theoretical, methodological, and ethical concerns are raised by this potential re-creation? Working with a very broad definition of 'the material' - potentially including linguistic, biological, genetic, neurological, environmental, and evolutionary factors - the conference aims to advance debates on sociality and matter, the imagination and creativity, and therefore on what it is to be human in a rapidly changing world.

In addition to conference papers, participants from all subfields are encouraged to present work in a range of media including film, sound, performance, photography, and drawing. We also aim to include exhibitions, laboratories, and other experimental formats in the Pitt Rivers Museum and elsewhere.

Scientific committee

Jason Danely (Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Japan, Oxford Brookes), David Gellner (Professor of Social Anthropology, Head of Department, SAME), Chris Gosden (Professor of European Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford), Elizabeth Hallam (Research Associate, SAME, and Hon. Editor of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute), Clare Harris (Professor of Visual Anthropology, SAME; and Curator for Asian Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum), Dan Hicks (Associate Professor in the School of Archaeology and Curator of Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum), Catherine Hill (Professor of Anthropology, Oxford Brookes), Jeremy MacClancy (Professor of Anthropology, Oxford Brookes), Laura Rival (Professor of Anthropology of Development, Oxford Department of International Development), Ramon Sarró (Associate Professor in the Social Anthropology of Africa, SAME), David Zeitlyn (Professor of Social Anthropology, SAME).

Email all conference communication to