SfAA 2019: Pursuing Ethnic Understanding and Reconciliation

A paper I co-authored with Dr. Carolina Severiche has been accepted to the SfAA 2019 Conference in Portland, Oregon. The session we are part of is titled Pursuing Ethnic Understanding and Reconciliation.

SfAA 2019 Session Participants

  • CHAIR: BOTICA, Jennifer (Kleanza Consulting Ltd)
  • ROKHIDEH, Maryam (U Notre Dame) Creating Certainty out of Uncertainty through Cross-Border Trade on the Congo-Rwanda Border
  • BOTICA, Jennifer (Kleanza Consulting Ltd) Archaeology in a Post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission World: How Do We Apply the Calls to Action?
  • ARTZ, Matt and SEVERICHE MENA, Carolina (Azimuth Labs) New Perspective: How Consumer Genetics Can Foster Ethnic Understanding

SfAA 2019 Session Abstracts

ARTZ, Matt and SEVERICHE MENA, Carolina (Azimuth LabsNew Perspective: How Consumer Genetics Can Foster Ethnic Understanding. We live in a time rife with ethnic tensions, yet many of us unknowingly share an ethnic heritage with those that are perceived to be the other. If we knew more about our genetic heritage, would we be more accepting of others? In a recent ethnography of direct-to-consumer genetics (DTCG), that is what we found. When people took a genetic test, they not only gained a better understanding of what they already knew but more importantly about their unknown ethnic heritage, leading to a desire to share and learn more. This paper shares how DTCG can foster ethnic understanding.

BOTICA, Jennifer (Kleanza Consulting Ltd) Archaeology in a Post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission World: How Do We Apply the Calls to Action? In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”. Four years on, what has changed in my profession as a consulting archaeologist in BC? In this paper, I discuss the Calls to Action, consider our responsibility as professionals who access First Nations’ cultural heritage, and reflect upon how archaeologists can mobilize reconciliation from the inside out.

ROKHIDEH, Maryam (U Notre Dame) Creating Certainty out of Uncertainty through Cross-Border Trade on the Congo-Rwanda Border. While significant anthropological research has been dedicated to understanding the impact of violence on societies, less is known about how people mitigate those impacts and create certainty out of profound uncertainty. In dealing with decades of insecurity, those living on the Congo-Rwanda border have turned to cross-border trade to sustain their livelihoods and pursue a good life. Cross-border trade serves as an important vehicle for entrepreneurial aspirations and well-being, opening up pathways to achieve socio-economic mobility and the possibility to move beyond day-to-day survival that is characteristic of life in a conflict zone. By identifying opportunities to positively affect future outcomes, this paper contributes to a recent call in anthropology to overcome the ‘suffering slot’ (Robbins 2013) and “widen its conception of how humans engage in their own futures” (Appadurai 2004: 63).

The Context of SfAA 2019

On the SfAA website, the 2019 Program Chair Michael Paolisso states:

A fundamental interest in the processes, directions, and consequences of change lie at the center of our inquiry and practice, regardless of the subject, approach, or location. Today, the content, pace, and process of change are staggering in their breadth, diversity, uncertainty, and impact. The communities where we live and work may be experiencing pronounced uncertainty, isolationism, extremism, trauma and violence, and racial and ethnic tensions. Skepticism is on the rise, along with fear, particularly of others. We recognize the need for more civil dialogue yet struggle to create sustainable and meaningful civic engagement with those with whom we differ. Economic livelihoods and environmental sustainability are in jeopardy. Our trust in elected officials has eroded, and many have lost confidence in our political institutions. Change is at the core of anthropology and related applied social sciences, and these are truly turbulent times.

A Look Back at SfAA Philadelphia 2018

At the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) 2018 annual meeting in Philadelphia, Adam Gamwell and I presented a paper on the topic of anthropology podcasting as part of the New Methods, Interventions And Approaches session.

Our paper title was Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding

The session was recorded for the SfAA Podcasting project. You can listen to it here:

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