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Announcing the CASCA-AAA joint conference theme: Changing climates

By Martha Radice and Pamela Downe

We’re delighted to announce that we’re making great progress on organizing the joint CASCA-AAA conference to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 20-24, 2019. The land on which we will gather is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

As the CASCA program co-chairs, we have worked with the AAA program co-chair Nicole D. Peterson (University of North Carolina – Charlotte) to come up with what we think is a compelling theme: Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice. You can read the call for papers on this theme below.

This theme was developed through a collaborative effort by the joint Executive Program Committee, which includes members of both CASCA and the AAA. We are inspired not only by the promise of the discussions and debates that this theme will engender but also by the spirit of cooperation and collegiality that marks a monumental first for our organizations. Although we share many disciplinary similarities, the historical trajectories of anthropological scholarship and engagement in Canada and the United States are also distinct in many ways. We are excited to be building the basis for future collaborations.

We are thinking carefully about how to ensure bilingualism at the conference as well as recognize Indigenous languages – especially given that UNESCO has declared 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

We invite all CASCA members to think about what sessions and papers they might propose for this conference, and how they might invite AAA members and research collaborators to participate. In particular, we invite you to propose Executive Sessions, which are fully-formed sessions that engage closely with the theme and are reviewed by the joint CASCA-AAA Executive Program Committee. The CASCA members of this committee are Natacha Gagné (U Laval), Charles Menzies (UBC), and Virginia Caputo (Carleton U), as well as us two co-chairs.

Six generous and enthusiastic CASCA members based in or near Vancouver have volunteered to constitute a Local Organizing Committee to coordinate events in or about the immediate environment of the conference. They are David Geary, UBC Okanagan, Nicola Mooney, University of the Fraser Valley, Julia Murphy, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Susan Rowley, UBC (Museum of Anthropology and Department of Anthropology), Pamela Stern, Simon Fraser University, and Jaime Yard, Douglas College. Please contact them if you can offer or recommend local activities for the conference.

In terms of practicalities:

  • CASCA members will be able to pay their conference registration fees through our regular system, and using their CASCA membership. This means that CASCA members will not be obligated to take out an AAA membership to attend the conference.
  • After paying registration and CASCA membership fees, CASCA members will then submit abstracts, sessions, events, etc. for review through the AAA portal.
  • CASCA will be one of the ‘sections’ to which participants can submit their abstracts and sessions for review, but CASCA members can also submit their sessions or abstracts to other sections.
  • Any proposal for any section will be able to be submitted and reviewed in French. AAA and CASCA will support sections with resources to be able to review proposals in French.

Watch this space for more details as we finalize the details and deadlines for the conference. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments at

Conference theme

Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice / Changer d’air: Lutte, collaboration et justice

“Changing Climates / Changer d’air”:  The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) are collaborating for the first time to host the 2019 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Executive Program Committee invites anthropologists and their collaborators to examine how we engage with communities around issues of change over time, including climate change, to envision and build a more equitable future. In this sense, “climates” signals the contexts in which we work: environmental, social, and political climates, as well as climates for research, for inclusion and equity, and for teaching. “Climates” also points to anthropology’s holistic approach, which connects systemic elements and can illuminate shifting relationships, conflicts, and opportunities.

“Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice” reflect the context, dynamic, and outcomes that we seek through our work. We call for a reflection on “Struggle,” acknowledging the complex nature of change, which often includes challenges, conflicts, and misunderstandings, as well as different forms of resistance and resilience. Struggle can also be romanticized even as it re-entrenches power. We must acknowledge these facets of our work to note sources and productive outcomes of tension.

“Collaboration” highlights how anthropologists engage with various communities, from local to global, to construct research questions, design approaches, and make recommendations. Anthropology’s focus on local experience and perspectives provides us with a set of theoretical and methodological tools for building relationships with communities – relationships that can evolve into genuine co-production of new knowledge. This is a call to bring your collaborators into conversation at the conference about how these relationships develop and change over time. Collaborators could be those you learn from, the people who conduct research with you, or the people who learn from you. For those without collaborators, this will be an opportunity to envision developing relationships that are built on reciprocity, trust, and deep collaboration.

And finally, we call for a reflection on “Justice” to highlight the potential for these collaborations to contribute to reconciliation, self-determination, decolonization, redistribution as well as other ways of addressing power inequalities. Anthropology’s commitment to long-term research and integrative theory and methods provides a unique perspective on how prehistoric, historical and current events contribute to ongoing inequalities and subjugation, as well as how to design collaborative projects that have the potential to generate more just opportunities that matter in practice.

Since we are convening in Vancouver, unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, we want to offer opportunities to highlight how anthropology connects to Indigenous communities through active collaborations as well as struggles to deal with anthropology’s implications in ongoing coloniality.

Important information


Wednesday, November 20, 2019–Sunday, November 24, 2019

Please be sure to review the rules for participation prior to submitting your proposals.


For more detailed information on the different submission types, visit this site.

Executive Sessions

  • Oral Presentation Sessions
  • Roundtables
  • Group Flash Presentations

Submission deadline: 3:00 p.m. EST (8:00 p.m. GMT) February 6

General Call for Papers

  • Oral Presentation Sessions
  • Roundtables
  • Individually Volunteered Papers
  • Group Gallery Sessions
  • Individual Galleries
  • Installations
  • Workshops
  • Mentoring Events

Submission deadline:  3:00 p.m. EST (8:00 p.m. GMT) April 10

Special Events

  • Board Meetings
  • Business Meetings
  • Committee/Organizing Meetings
  • Receptions

Submission deadline: 3:00 p.m. EST (8:00 p.m. GMT) May 15 

Late-Breaking Sessions

  • Oral Presentation Sessions
  • Roundtables
  • Individual Galleries

Submission deadline: 3:00 p.m. EST (8:00 p.m. GMT) September 11


Due to the partnership of our two organizations this year, individuals wishing to participate on Executive Session or General Call for Papers proposals must register for the Annual Meeting by 3:00 p.m. EST (8:00 p.m. GMT) April 5.

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