Conf Guelph 2020

Engagements and Entanglements/Engagements et Enchevêtrements


The theme for CASCA 2021 is Engagements and Entanglements/Engagements et Enchevêtrements. Modes of engagement in our work are multiple and range from community to social, sustained, public, and civic. The entanglements are just as diverse, often involving multiple actors/subjects and intersections across many perceived boundaries: community, social, cultural, geographic, economic, gendered, racialized. They also have different impacts—emotional, sustained, and meaningful.

Reflecting on engagements and entanglements is especially relevant given events in 2020: climate disasters are displacing people and animals; the impacts of COVID-19 are highlighting global inequalities and vulnerabilities; and people around the world are mobilizing against racialized violence. Current global crises present both challenges and opportunities for anthropologists as we engage with various communities.


The CASCA 2021 conference theme therefore encourages us to reflect on how we become entangled and engaged within and outside of anthropology, during everyday interactions, and during times of crisis. How do we further mobilize the potential for anthropology to overcome complex global crises and divisions, produce circles of knowledge, and move us forward together with care and community in mind? We must also examine the entanglements of the discipline with colonial and racist systems and ideologies that might impede this progress, and intentionally address these entanglements and their impacts as a community of likeminded scholars.


We therefore encourage conference participants to consider how we can bring diverse aspects of our discipline together towards a common goal of understanding humanity and improving our relationship with each other and our planet. In doing so, we emphasize that anthropological practices and perspectives are ideally positioned to contribute to visions of bright, positive, inclusive futures.


For CASCA 2021, we welcome the participation of anthropologists from all fields of the discipline as well as scholars from related disciplines. Some questions for participants to consider include:

  1. How might our research engagements lead to unanticipated entanglements with research partners, funders, communities, publics, and nonhuman others; how might our entanglements lead to unexpected engagements? How do we navigate these? 
  2. What steps do we take, as individuals and as a discipline, to address the entanglements of our discipline with legacies of colonial and racist systems and ideologies? How do we engage with diversity and social justice within our (sub)discipline(s), our research initiatives, and our public engagements? 
  3. How can we improve our ability to engage and work in solidarity with marginalized communities to confront inequalities and create inclusive, cohesive, and caring possibilities?
  4. How do we engage with nonhuman others?  What new possibilities emerge when we address human - non-human relationships and reciprocities?
  5. What kinds of engagements and entanglements do we see when we look inwards and outwards as anthropologists? How can we draw on these insights to build on Canadian anthropological practice in local and global contexts, within and outside academia? 

For CASCA 2021, let us, as anthropologists, engage our diverse and holistic discipline to better understand ourselves, and the human and non-human communities with which we are entangled.


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