2010 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
November 17-21, 2010, New Orleans, LA
Paper abstracts are invited for this panel to be submitted to the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA)
DUE DATE: Tuesday, March 9, 2010.
“Keeping Time Alive: Rhythms of Memory and Meaning in Person and Place”
There is an inherent temporality to circulation, evident in the rhythm and cadence that accompanies the movement of people, other organisms, materials, and ideas. As these movements permeate through space and place, their temporality also extends. Patterns and processes of circulation are themselves inherently transitional; embedded in time, and bringing about change in self and society.
In this panel we focus on memory, exploring the temporal dimensions through which memory is generated, circulated, and sustained (or erased). What are the mechanisms and vehicles that carry memory and meaning forward? What are the rhythms inherent to these movements? Who directs these process and how? Finally, how do these circulations “keep time alive,” connecting people to the past, present, and future as well as to larger social and political institutions, structures, and agendas?
Such processes are thrown into relief in places like New Orleans, where circulation is supported by a permeability and unique temporal quality to the cultural and geographic landscape, and where lived experience is consciously re-patterned in the slow recovery that follows radical disaster. The setting thus invites us to creatively and comparatively explore the circulation of memory and meaning, and how it might shape the flow and lived experience of time and ‘transition’ (broadly defined). In doing so we engage with a diverse set of literature, exploring human dwelling and passage (e.g. Hallowell, van Gennep, Ingold), the everyday experience and practice of marking time and movement (e.g. Feld, James and Mills), ethnographies of memory and meaning (e.g. Boyarin, Mueggler, Seremetakis), studies of social and political transition (e.g. Das, Herzfeld, Burawoy and Verdery), and anthropological perspectives on time (e.g. Casey, Gell, Munn).
The particular interests of the panel organizers focus on the ways that people keep time when their sense of normalcy has been disrupted, and what these practices do for them. For example, in Poland older people who live in institutional care often connect their own suffering to that of their ancestors and the Polish nation as an attempt to ameliorate what they feel is their less-than-ideal or morally problematic everyday life in institutions (Robbins). And in New Orleans, family members and loved ones of murder victims keep memories of the deceased in circulation, restoring humanity through recitation, naming, and the ritual observance of anniversaries and other important events (Carter).
We invite, however, submissions from those with diverse orientations, backgrounds, and approaches (ethnographic, theoretical, visual, aural, etc). Papers might address time-keepers and time-keeping; the embodied dimensions and actions of memory and meaning; time-oriented acts and practices of remembrance, such as recitation, recounting, and ritual; and the spatiotemporal connections formed through such practices. We look forward to a wide-ranging and lively discussion.
For consideration, please submit the following information by Tuesday, March 9, 2010 to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com:
* Name and institutional affiliation
* Paper title
* 250-word abstract
* Contact information
Rebecca L. Carter, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jessica Robbins, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Michigan (email@example.com)
Rebecca L. Carter
University of Michigan
Department of Anthropology Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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