of the American Anthropological Association

Open Call for Papers American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2017

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2017: Open Call for Papers Sessions

As part of a new meeting initiative for 2017, the Archaeology Division of the AAA will be using an open Call for Papers (CFP) format to encourage people to submit session ideas and utilize our extensive membership network to attract participants from within archaeology and across sub-disciplines. We see the AAA annual meeting as a unique opportunity for archaeologists to engage in intellectual conversations with other anthropologists who may not typically attend more sub-discipline specific meetings. The CFP format is not intended to replace the more traditional pre-organized session format, but instead offer a complementary way of facilitating a dialogue with scholars from our vibrant organization. This year we are especially interested in open CFP sessions that engage with our meeting theme of ‘”Anthropology Matters”.

Session 1

Heritage in Triple Time: Building National Futures On and Through the Past

The political uses of the past in the present are well documented: nations use and abuse their pasts, both interpreting history and transforming it in the service of national imaginaries. The impacts of such deployments of heritage, however, reach beyond the temporal bounds of the present. Interpretations of the national past are put to work to build, shape, alter, and transform the hoped-for future. Moreover, stories, figures, icons, and symbols from the past impact how national visions of what is achievable and desirable in the future are imagined and pursued. This session examines how the past is put to work in future-oriented national imaginaries, attending to the ways in which heritage is implicated in technological, utopian, or dystopian national futures. Specific questions for consideration include: how is the past put to work in corroborating or contesting narratives of progress? What does it mean to produce archaeological and historical knowledge when some of the most compelling, and concerning, contemporary visions of the future involve being great “again”? In what ways do unequal distributions of power, resources or access impact the ability to mobilize the past to shape the future? Where do future-oriented projects of technological transformation leave material things—especially with respect to increasingly digitized futures that embrace innovation over continuity and immateriality over physicality?

We invite contributions that draw on archaeological or ethnographic evidence to address the ways in which heritage functions to shape the very conditions of possibility in which national dreams of emancipation, hegemony, or techno-utopia are imagined and enacted. We seek to think through how heritage functions in multiple timescales: how knowledge about the past lives in not only the double time of the present and the past, but also in the triple time of the future.


Annalisa Bolin
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Anthropology
Stanford University

Lori Weekes
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Anthropology
Stanford University

Session 3

Collaborative, public and political: archaeology in 2017 and beyond

Archaeology matters, and so do the methods that archaeologists employ to engage with
the past and present. Increasingly, archaeologists intentionally engage with local and descendant communities in and around our sites of study to help produce richer, thicker analysis of our historical interpretations. Under community based and participatory frameworks, archaeologists work collaboratively with communities to develop and implement research projects, interpret data and disseminate our findings with multiple publics. These collaborations are never easy, but are nonetheless important when narratives about the past, present and the future are at stake. Today we find ourselves in an age of fake news and public skepticism towards issues of science and climate change, historical and contemporary inequality, rising nationalism, and funding cuts to the arts and humanities, heritage sites, public broadcasting, and social safety nets. Anthropological archaeologists sit at the crossroads of these increasingly contentious debates, and we are uniquely positioned to respond.

This session will bring together scholars who are pursuing diverse and innovative methods to engage the public and work with local and descendant communities at their research sites; who are committed to unearthing historical and contemporary voices through a variety of archaeological and ethnographic methods; and who are actively seeking ways to make their research matter to the public, activist movements, media, and local and national governments.

In part, this session responds to last year’s session on ‘Accidents and Discoveries in CBPR: Perspectives from Early Career Anthropologists.’ Here we make the case for working through those accidents in diverse forms of community-based and participatory research in search of transformative and productive moments of discovery, collaboration, activism and political engagement. This session speaks to the value of multi-method, engaged research practices in archaeology, and the importance of this kind of community-oriented, public anthropology in our current moment. We seek papers from across the discipline and from around the world to demonstrate the kind of research that archaeologists can produce with one ear to the ground and one to the ever-changing socio-political landscape around them. We welcome papers that address how archaeologists can intervene in diverse topics through their research, including: (im)migration, historical and contemporary inequality, environmental justice, local and transnational economic development, historic preservation, and tourism.


If you are interested in participating, please send abstracts (250 words) by April 9 to

Elena Sesma
UMass Amherst

Session 3

Ceramic Ecology XXXI: Ceramic Ecology Matters!

For 31 years, the Ceramic Ecology session has provided an open and supportive venue for the presentation of research and insight on all aspects of ceramic production, consumption, trade and their economic, political, social, aesthetic, cosmological, and phenomenological implications. It has also encouraged presentations and discussions on new and established methods and techniques for extracting data from ceramics as we attempt to answer new questions about the past. How does all this work matter in our world today? Can our socio-ecological data provide insights relevant to the Anthropocene? Can our collaborations with local communities help ameliorate political inequalities? Can our partnerships with international scholars and institutions help understand and preserve local histories, strengthen threatened identities, while also fighting extreme nationalism?

Inspired by this year’s AAA theme (Anthropology Matters! http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2016/11/22/116th-aaa-annual-meeting-call-for-papers/), this year we are looking for papers along two venues:

1) As always, we invite papers that focus on new data, methodological applications, and/or theoretical approaches on the analysis of ceramics from any cultural and temporal context in the world.

2) We also invite papers that focus on how and why doing ceramic research matters in today’s world.

Our aim is twofold:

1) to foster interdisciplinary interactions and push the boundaries of what can be understood about the human experience through the creative and systematic study of ceramics, and

2) to explore critically the impact of this work on the communities with whom we work, and more broadly its impact on the world.

Individual papers can focus on the presentation of new data/methods etc., or on exploring the effect of our methodologies on our results, or on doing both.

If you had wanted to present last year and we could not accommodate you, please let us know ASAP whether you are still interested and we shall give you priority in this year’s list.

We are very happy to have Dr. Chandra Reedy as our discussant this year. http://sites.udel.edu/chad/people/faculty/chandra-reedy/

If you do wish to participate, please send us both an e-mail by March 20, including a title, and a full abstract for your paper (making clear basic information about the culture area, time frame, and methodology used, as well as whether your paper will be presenting new data, or reflecting on the relevance of the data to today’s world). Not all papers may be accommodated. We will acknowledge the receipt of your message and, if needed, reserve you a space for 2018. Once we have the program finalized, we will send all the necessary information about the registration requirements. We would like to finalize the session by March 25.



Kostalena Michelaki

Sandra Lopez-Varela