In light of the 'Idle No More' movement which has taken off in Canada as a peaceful, social-media inspired mode of engagement with government and the broader Canadian and international community, it seems timely for anthropologists to enter into conversation with Aboriginal activists. We invite papers that re-examine tired debates over objectivity vs involved anthropology, and address whether anthropology has, or should have, a role in Aboriginal activism. We will be inviting Aboriginal activists from Canada and Australia to participate as provocateurs/discussants.
Debates about objectivity, science, involved/consultant anthropologists are familiar in both Canada and Australia, although the criticism of involvement beyond the academy is expressed differently in these two settler-nations. Is ‘applied’ anthropology a vital engagement or is it a diminishment of the value/possibility of anthropological insight? How is this expressed in Canada and in Australia? In a conference devoted to the role of anthropology in unsettling times, how does advocacy in anthropology unsettle an academic discipline which is part of the system against which power activists rail.
We would like to encourage lively debate: the final format will be confirmed once presenters and guests are known. Papers may be kept short and relatively informal to encourage a range of views from academics, non-academics, activists and students.
Some possible themes:
To submit an abstract to this session, please contact Naomi Adelson (email@example.com)
We have room for four more papers in this session. Please forward your abstracts asap to Evie Plaice (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to join us.
In 1954 George Spindler held the Conference on Anthropology and Education at Stanford University, where he had recently taken a joint appointment between Anthropology and Education. The conference helped consolidate this new area of research, inviting both educators and anthropologists to contribute to discussions of the theoretical, methodological and philosophical aspects of research in schooling. Although research drew from various locations, for pragmatic reasons Spindler’s developing school of ethnographic studies focussed largely on American experiences. Under Spindler, American educational anthropology flourished throughout the late twentieth century resulting in the formation of the Council on Anthropology and Education in 1970, which continues to hold its annual meetings through the American Anthropology Association, and its journal the Anthropology & Education Quarterly, as well as an extraordinary array of ethnographies (Spindler 1955, 1982, 1984, Rosenfeld 1971, Hostetler 1971, Peshkin 1982, MacDermott 1982, King 1968, Wolcott 1967, to name but a few). Understandably, American interests have come to dominate the field, as with the Anthropology & Education Quarterly Special Issue on the ‘No Child Left Behind’ 38:1:2007, and the most recent (March 2013) issue which focusses on the Council on Anthropology in Education contributions made at the American Anthropology Association meetings of 2011.
The situation in Canada is different however and, I would argue, worth a special focus of its own. Despite much excellent anthropological research into education in Canada, including some of Spindler’s students (Wolcott 1967, King 1968, Fisher 1966), there is no parallel focus group in this country. Canada’s history, its particular relationship with its aboriginal peoples, its policies on education, and its commitment to multiculturalism, make it decidedly distinct from America. Central among Canada’s own educational dilemmas continues to be the management of aboriginal education. A key element in the 1991 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples became the issue of residential schooling (Chrisjohn and Young 2002, Dyck 1997, Knockwood 1992, Trevithick 1998). The Royal Commission may have publicly exposed the assimilationist policies promoted through residential schooling but, as Fisher (1998) points out, academic interest had been galvanised some time earlier. The Trudeau government’s tabling of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Affairs caused an enduring rift between government policy makers, First Nations communities and the anthropologists who had been working with them. Yet a concerted national response did not develop. Canada’s experiences remained peripheral to the three emerging centres of anthropology in America, Britain, and France (Fisher: 89), even though Canadian anthropology has been influenced by both American and European trends and Canada itself has often provided the locus of internationally influential research.
Although these were central, Canadian research and thinking in the field of anthropology in education went beyond the confines of First Nations educational concerns. Through their work with First Nations, Canadian anthropologists developed an early interest in Indigenous Knowledge (for example Jenness 1929, and Dunning 1959), which lead to the distinction being made between knowledge transmission and ‘schooling’ (Miner 1939) and later a more thorough engagement with the American theoretical orientation of cultural relativism. Later yet, British and French anthropological influences in Canada lead to Marxist, revisionist and postcolonial interpretations in the anthropology of schooling (Yon 2003). During the latter part of the twentieth century, and influenced by European scholarship’s engagement with revisionism, “[t]he meaning of culture in education...was reconceptualized in terms of competing and conflicting interests constituted by, and within, unequal relations of power.” (Yon p.419). Studies such as Furniss’s (1992) on the deaths of two children at Williams Lake Residential School in British Columbia assess agency and resistance among residential schoolchildren and their families, thus questioning earlier ethnographic assumptions of uniformity within cultures and of the power of social structures over individuals as agents (Bourdieu 1972, Trevithick 1998). The move away from the essentializing tendencies in ethnography toward more subtle interpretations of school experience based on race, class, and gender opened up educational research to an awareness of and increasing engagement with the multiple subjectivities that contemporary classrooms represent.
At each step and with each shift in theoretical trends, Canadian scholars have linked their work with trends in Europe and American, introducing Canadian data and examples that provide new insights on current debates and pursuing interests that spring directly from the Canadian experience. Although not necessarily acknowledged or classified as the anthropology of education, Canadian research into knowledge transmission has diversified into, among other avenues: issues of bilingualism and bilingual education (Heller), autoethnography and educational life histories (Leavitt 1994), life course transitions (Stern), Indigenous and Elder knowledge (Cruikshank), educational self-governance (Dyck, Chrisjohn), residential schooling (Knockwood), parenting and socialisation (Briggs), digital storytelling (Fletcher), critical pedagogies (Fisher), critical multiculturalism (Yon), academic apprenticeship (Korpan), cross-cultural conflict mediation in schools (Villa Taberner), ethnographic practice in education (Wolcott), and the culture of sports in the school system (Dyck). The lack of a national body for Canadian anthropologists of education has meant that much Canadian writing on the subject has been published either through American vehicles such as the Anthropology & Education Quarterly, or has been dispersed throughout more general anthropological literature. In either case the unique intellectual thrust of Canadian experience and expertise is lost or muted. In bringing together Canadian ethnographic research on education, both classic and current examples, I aim to enable a more comprehensive and reflective appreciation of the Canadian experience and Canadian scholarship in this area.
A World Council of Anthropological Associations Biennial Theme Symposium
Bela Feldman-Bianco (ABA) and Ellen R. Judd (CASCA)
As the world becomes increasingly articulated by capitalism and the flows of people, things, and signs it articulates, mobility emerges as an ever more critical issue. It appears as the forced, pressured and variously chosen displacements of people arising from market development, financial crisis, war, conflict and a myriad of unleashed forces. It simultaneously appears as immobilities for those denied movement and frequently dispossessed within or beyond nation-states. What is new or distinct about these forms of displacement and immobility? How do the displaced and the immobile create strategies to respond to these disruptions? This symposium aims, through comparative ethnographic perspectives, to examine the diverse (spatial, temporal, gendered, racialized, class and other) aspects of displacements and immobilities in Canada and globally, and how these generate capital accumulation and social suffering in the current postneoliberal conjuncture. The potentials and actualities of critical local and global dialogues and practices will be addressed.
Interested participants are invited to send a title and abstract to Ellen Judd email@example.com by February 26.
CFP for CASCA 2013
The urban South Pacific: new issues, new perspectives.
The urban South Pacific is a not a common territory in anthropology. Cities in Australia and New Zealand face challenges seen elsewhere; population increases, mobility issues, a rapid aging population, and increasingly dense centers. But the urban South Pacific has challenges of its own (Aboriginal relations, climate change, freshwater shortage, and regional city growth, among other things) that are dealt with in a very unique way with consideration to the historical context and environment (city governance, corporate involvement in city planning, role in the Pacific Rim, etc.). We wish to explore and underline the complexity of various urban themes, such as Aboriginal issues, neoliberalism, interactions in public spaces, new ways of being, governance, and immigration. This session aims at reuniting works on contemporary topics related to Southern Pacific urbanites, and to contribute to enlarging our urban anthropology research and perspective.
Please submit 250 word abstracts and contact information to Nathalie Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org by 25 February 2013.
Information about the upcoming CASCA conference is available here: http://www.cas-sca.ca/conference/upcoming-conference/2013-call-for-papers
We have extended the deadline for abstracts for our panel to the 28 February 2013.
This symposium focuses on the theme Indigneous people and international borders, looking at ethnographic cases on different borders and examining the interaction of Indigenous people with State institutions of two or more countries and the patterns of (dis)respect of citizenship rights. Attention will be given to the ways that Indigenous peoples have related to national States in border situations that have emerged from colonial histories. Most Indigenous people who live on international borders share the fact that these were their traditional territories before the boundaries were established between national States. The aim of this symposium is to bring together studies of different border situations that involve Indigenous peoples. Studies are from North and South America but other areas are welcome.
Bruce Miller, UBC email@example.com
Stephen Baines, University of Brasilia
Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)c/o Dr.Lorne HolyoakDepartment of Sociology and AnthropologyCarleton University1125 Colonel By DriveOttawa, ON K1S 5B6Email
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