Department of Social Anthropology

Well-represented Department at EASA 2018

In August, the European Association for Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference was held in Stockholm. The Department for Social Anthropology was well-represented with a total of nine employees, among them also researchers from the Energethics project.

Isabelle Hugøy, UiB

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About 1500 participants from all over Europe came to Stockholm for the biennial EASA 2018 conference, with the theme 'Staying - Moving - Settling' in focus. With an impressive 165 paneles, in addition to plenaries, round tables and network meetings over four days, the Department's employees would have more than enough to choose from.

Representing the Department were Department- and Energethics projectleader Ståle Knudsen, Professor Don Kalb, Associate Professor Cecilie Ødegaard, postdoctoral fellows Ingrid B. Müftüoglu and Synnøve N. Bendixen, PhD-candidates Marianna Betti, Nora Haukali, Mari Norbakk and research assistant Isabelle Hugøy. In other words, the Department was well-represented when presenting papers and/or being discussant in a total of eight different panels.

During the opening ceremony, the keynote speaker Professor Shahram Khosravi gave a lecture entitled "Walling, Unsettling, Stealing". The focus on connections between war and walls, and walls and empires, migration an boarder crossings thus provided an introduction to discuss the overall theme for the conference.

Several round tables and plenaries were held in the course of the following days. Among these, "Anthropology after data (management): access, infrastructure, ethics" discussed how the age of data is shaping research and the challenges and implications this might have for anthropology. Another round table that was of particular interest to several from the Department was "The return of the armchair anthropology? Debating the ethics and politics of big projects". The discussion problematized how large collaborative research projects is bringing about a new divsion of labour between Project Investigators and lower-tier researchers that are expected to work on fixed-term contracts. The precarity that such contracts entails and in academia in general was also a theme for the last plenary of the conference "Im/mobility, uncertainty and hope – critical reflections on academic precarity".

EASA is a professional association open to all social anthropologists either qualified in, or else working in, Europe. The EASA conference is held every other year, and the next will take place in 2020.