In addressing strategic themes and issues to assess the past and future of the histories of anthropology, the Scientific Committee envisioned the following panels, among which to propose a paper.

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This panel brings historians of anthropology together to discuss what defines the histories of anthropologies. It also investigates how histories were cultivated in the past and how they should be practised in the future. Due to their interdisciplinary nature, the histories of anthropologies rely on both historical (re)construction and anthropological sensitivity – so much so that more than 40 years ago, George W. Stocking envisioned a “historically sophisticated and anthropologically informed history of anthropology” (1982, XVIII). But how much training in archival research and historical methodology, as well as in fieldwork are fundamental prerequisites to practise the histories of anthropologies? Can anyone “do histories” of anthropologies? Or should historians of anthropologies be anthropologists themselves? Furthermore, how should we write the histories of anthropologies? Using which major paradigms, theoretical approaches, and research methodologies? Is the distinction between “presentism” and “historicism” still relevant, or is it the social uses of scientific discourses that matter (Graham-Lepenies-Weingart 1983)? How does the post-colonial critique of anthropology relate to historical/anthropological discourses (Kucklick 2008) and how shall we proceed in elaborating more widely acceptable historiographies? What can we learn from theories and perspectives brought from history, both the history of sciences and the history of ideas, about knowledge production and transfer? Eventually, how do methodologies need to change to be able to allow historians of anthropologies to respond to current epistemological and social challenges better?

Convenors: Fabiana Dimpflmeier (“Gabriele d’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara), Ildikó Sz. Kristóf (Hungarian Academy of Sciences / Eötvös Loránd Research Network)

This panel brings archivists and other scholars together to discuss the theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical roles of archives in disciplinary histories and in the production of knowledge. We will pay special attention to the actors and collaborators involved in archives; the types and formats of archives and documents; and the mediality of archival material, particularly in the face of digitalisation. We will also examine key issues raised by archives as institutions for knowledge production, including issues of power relations and of access. Whose voices are heard and whose are silenced? How do the relations, and in some cases collaborations, between collectors and informants shape the material? Can we address “gaps” by reading against, or along (Stoler 2009), the archival grain? Working with “native communities” brings questions of ethics to the fore, not least regarding ownership of material. Ethical considerations are crucial at every step of the archival process: acquiring, appraising, and classifying material, as well as protecting and ensuring access to the material. In terms of knowledge formats, what different forms of archives and material formats do archivists and disciplinary historians deal with? Lastly, we welcome contributions on the mediality of archives. Among other things, digitisation has made archives and archival material more accessible. However, it has also created issues regarding data protection and the loss of contextual knowledge. Can we conceptualise archives as places where we encounter different knowledge economies?

Convenors: Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Goethe University), Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch (The Swedish Literature Society in Finland), Katre Kikas (Estonian Literary Museum)

This panel is dedicated to studies focused on rediscovering the work of anthropologists whose place in disciplinary history is obscured by their ideas or praxis being connoted with surpassed paradigms, while surviving in new environments. From evolutionism and diffusionism at the height of structural-functionalism to “New Boasian” anthropology in anti-culturalist times, there is a vast anthropological literature revealing unexpected intellectual rhizomes grown from trees ‘cut down’ in earlier periods. The panel welcomes papers exploring the heuristic import of understudied cases of ‘anachronistic’ scholarship both within major traditions and world anthropologies, as well as case studies dedicated to institutions and contexts congenial to older, alternative views in face of hegemonic trends in national and/or international anthropology. By encapsulating anticanonical motives, these apparently defeated anthropologies challenge our understanding of historical contextualization, periodization, and time. The panel invites participants to reflect on this theme and the ways in which it may unsettle both the perception of anthropology’s past and the historiography of anthropology from a methodological and theoretical point of view.

Convenors: David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute; University College London), Christine Laurière (CNRS, UMR9022 Héritages), Frederico Delgado Rosa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, CRIA Centre for Research in Anthropology)

This panel seeks historicist, ethnographic, and/or theoretical accounts of the uses that underlie and guide the writing and teaching of the histories of anthropology. How have historians of anthropology contributed to the development of particular schools, approaches, movements, etc. across disciplinary history? Have such projects used historical scholarship as a source of ethical lessons (role models or cautionary tales), of enlightening epistemological insights (whether by recuperation or reappraisal), or a combination of the two? Are there other important uses for historical research? How has the production of the histories of anthropology varied depending on its intended audiences (e.g., academic anthropologists, applied anthropologists, historians of science, undergraduate students, graduate students, non-traditional students, and various non-academic audiences.)? How have uses changed in concert with (or as a response to) broader material shifts in academia (e.g., neoliberalization; the contraction of the humanities and social sciences; enrollment decline/growth; the emergence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity initiatives, student activism, etc.), perennial debates within anthropology itself (e.g., over disciplinary complicity with colonialism and possibilities for decolonization), and/or emergent philosophical or ethical stances of practicing anthropologists (e.g., “radical humanism,” activist research [as opposed to cultural critique], ethnographic refusal, etc.)?

Conveners: Grant Arndt (Iowa State University), Nick Barron (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

This panel centres on anthropologists, ethnologists, and folklorists who were marginalised or emigrated due to lack of freedom, oppression, and persecution in their home countries. Their biographies and oeuvre will be contextualised within the social and scientific politics of their times. Our emphasis will be on established academics as well as on doctoral students, young scholars, and academics who did not obtain employment in their discipline. What were the reasons for their marginalisation or persecution? To what extent did their approaches conform to the mainstream or how did they differ from it? Who gave up their profession? Who left or had to leave the country? In the case of exile, the path of emigration is also of interest and the degree to which the scholars were able to establish themselves in their new homeland, whether and to what extent their research interests and approaches changed, how their work was judged in their former and in the new homeland during their lifetime and in retrospect, to what extent (and in which way) they are still being remembered today? By looking at their biographies and their oeuvre and considering them as part of the history of anthropology, we want to confront this exclusion, which in some cases still persists at present. We very much welcome contributions that deal with marginalised ethnologists, anthropologists, and folklorists from different countries all over the world which give us an insight into their oeuvre.

Conveners: Katja Geisenhainer (Frobenius-Institut, Frankfurt and Universität Wien), Udo Mischek (University of Göttingen)

This panel grows out of discussions among the editors and advisors of the History of Anthropology Review and our wish to make the study of ideas, institutions, and methods of past anthropologists directly relevant to anthropologists working today. What light can the history of anthropology shed on issues of current anthropological concern, through revisiting the field’s earlier moments? For example, speakers might consider how past anthropologists’ positions within and at times opposed to imperial and colonial projects can shed light on contemporary politics of indigeneity, the global distribution of suffering, or relations between researchers and their interlocutors. Or historians looking at anthropology’s role in forming 19th-century race science and debunking it in the 20th century might consider how their work speaks to current ethnographers who are working on mass incarceration, militarized policing, or the reappearance of eugenics in big-data collection and surveillance– or vice versa. Perhaps anthropologists concentrating on the politics and practices of the environment and climate change might point out the ways earlier attention to the interactions between environments and cultures (for example in 19th-century geography, or in 20th-century ethnoscience or cultural ecology) offers useful perspectives on the present. Other burning anthropological issues today– gender definitions and hierarchies, class relations, intersections of religion and politics, the impacts of technology and media – might also find useful anticipations in the field’s past. This panel welcomes contributions both from anthropologists making use of their discipline’s past, and from historians mobilizing anthropology’s archives toward the present.

Convenors: John Tresch (The Warburg Institute, University of London), Richard Handler (University of Virginia)

This panel seeks to promote a dialogue between histories of the knowledge of regions within a variety of anthropological traditions and regional histories of anthropologies, especially as practised in colonial and postcolonial contexts. In ways related to the advent of “area studies” and similar formations, the anthropological study of different world areas has sometimes come to be defined by specific problems, topics, tropes, and/or theoretical approaches. For metropolitan anthropologies, different regions of study have sometimes been regarded as more or less theoretically productive overall, or have held disparate conceptual functions and been associated with distinct bodies of disciplinary literature. This has been true even at moments of high theoretical universalism—e.g., evolutionary theory—as various regions have held privileged roles in the imagination and visualisation of such ostensibly universal precepts. Meanwhile, anthropologies have both been constituent elements of colonial forms of knowledge and resources for reimagining region, area, and nation within anti- and postcolonial counter-traditions. As “sciences of self-knowledge” in such settings, anthropologies can have multi-dimensional roots both in metropolitan disciplines and in a host of pre-existing, emergent, or precolonial intellectual practices. Across these varied dynamics, anthropological practice has also often brushed against other allied or competing sorts of local knowledge production, such as folklore and national character studies. Within and among its papers, this panel aims to set these multifaceted histories of regional anthropologies in conversation.

Convenors: Robert Oppenheim (University of Texas at Austin), Okpyo Moon (Shandong University)

The discipline’s history seems to be full of eluded encounters among anthropologists from the dominant centers of academic production and local scholars, informants, and above all local communities, usually left without any form of restitution. Regarding Southern Italy, for instance, Maria Minicuci (2003) highlighted this dynamic in reference to the missing encounter between British and North American anthropologists and Italian ones working in the same field in the postwar period. Some years earlier, in the 1920s, Bronislaw Malinowski’s first wife Elsie Masson was an early example of a partner who remained a “hidden scholar”, helping her husband without public recognition. This panel focuses on both missed others and processes of missing others within the official history of the discipline. In contemporary anthropology the issue has been addressed by the important Brazilian Anthropological Association (ABA) motion in 2020 regarding cognitive extractivism and diversity of knowledge. Adopting the ABA motion’s vantage in a historical perspective, and extending it to embrace situations of partnership and co-working relations, we can look at dynamics of exclusion and elusion in relation to gender asymmetries, colonial-type power relationships, and global hierarchies of knowledge production to help “de-center” anthropology, do multiple and less unequal histories, and thereby imagine a plural, more inclusive future for the discipline. Following axes of gender, coloniality, precarity, and non-dominant research traditions, we call for papers on critical biographies, forgotten ancestors and helpers, and “peripheral” contributions by scholars, local scholarships, and communities that were sometimes “incorporated” without recognition, and more often deliberately ignored.

Convenors: Dorothy L. Zinn (Free University of Bolzano/Bozen), Daniela Salvucci (Free University of Bolzano/Bozen)