Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice
“Changing Climates / Changer d’air”: AAA and 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.
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“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 coproduction of new knowledge. This is a call to bring your collaborators into conversation at the Annual Meeting 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, on 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.