SEA News: Conference and Emergency Fund

Dear SEA Members and Friends
I hope this message finds you all healthy and well in this extraordinarily strange time! Despite the need for social distancing, and the regrettable cancellation of the spring meeting, the SEA board and 2020 program chairs have been hard at work planning for the future. I have a few updates for the membership:

2020 VIRTUAL MEETING “Economies of Convenience”
– Our 2020 Spring Meeting Program Chair, Rahul Oka, has been working hard to set up a virtual meeting which will take place April 30 (10:30 – 5:00 EDT) and May 1 (10:30 – 5:00 EDT). The lineup of speakers looks absolutely wonderful! Please mark your calendars and join us for as much of the conference as you can, from the comfort of your home, with a simple click of an email link! All SEA members are welcome and encouraged to attend and, as always, to provide useful feedback to our presenters. All participants must register, but it is FREE! The program and more information about how to register will arrive in your in-boxes early next week.

AAA EMERGENCY FUND
The AAA Executive Committee has authorized a very generous budget for an emergency grant program. Sections (including the SEA) are also contributing to match these funds. While the details are still emerging, it sounds like all AAA members who do not get full-time university benefits, are no longer supported by university funds or who derive at least 50% of their income from self-employment (consulting, etc) are eligible to apply. More information will be forthcoming from AAA but I wanted those in need to be aware that the deadline is currently planned for MAY 15. Please keep an eye out from the AAA.

2020 AAA MEETING
At the moment the 2020 AAA meeting is still on and deadlines for panels, roundtables, posters and individually volunteered papers have all been extended. We invite you all to submit your papers to SEA for consideration. Our 2020 Program Chair AJ Faas looks forward to your submissions.

ANTHROPOLOGY NEWS
I’m sure many of you have seen the excellent article in the most recent issue of Anthropology News. SEA got the “headline” with Ieva Snikersproge’s excellent article Capitalism and the Coronavirus Conspiracy. Please check it out. Big thanks to Walt Little for doing such a stellar job as our AN editor. Please note that Walt plans to turn over the reigns in November and we are still looking for a replacement. If you are interested, please let me know.

I think that’s it for now. The SEA board wishes you all safety, good health, and comfort in these strange times!

My best –
Cindy Isenhour, SEA President

SEA Spring Meeting Contingency Plans in Effect

The Executive Board of the Society for Economic Anthropology has voted to cancel our Spring Conference “Economies of Convenience” at the University of Notre Dame (Apr30-May3). Despite this disappointing news, please click here to read some promising contingency plans.

While the extent and severity of COVID19 in the United States is still uncertain, we feel that the most responsible thing to do is to practice the precautionary principle — in the interest of our community, our families, and society at large. We also understand that many who were registered for the conference are now facing university-wide travel restrictions.

The executive board would like to extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to Rahul Oka (chair), Samantha Zepponi, and Reiti Gengo – this year’s program and local organizing committee. The University of Notre Dame has hosted the SEA in the past, with great hospitality and generosity. It is a shame that we won’t get to enjoy their warm welcome this year, but we hope that we’ll find ourselves back in South Bend in the future.

Please note that the AAA will refund all conference registration fees within the next two weeks. We also understand that many airlines are allowing for reservations to be cancelled and rebooked within 12 months without penalty.

In closing, I include a note from Rahul Oka, Program Chair, which encourages us to think further about the theme of convenience, from the perspective of the COVID19 Global Pandemic and SEA’s cancellation.

“While this cancellation is sad and inconvenient for the SEA, the outbreak and its socio-economic and political aftershocks ricocheting across the world brings to light the precarity of an immense, globally-networked economy based on the consumption of services and goods designed to make everyone’s life more efficient, enjoyable, functional, AND “convenient.” If there is any consolation for the fear and loss of life to the virus, we have also seen the dramatic impact of decreased human activity (an inconvenience for some, a tragedy for many) on the environment in the span of just a month. The world will be different after this, in ways that we cannot yet predict. Ironically, this crisis is the time when economists have seemed to recognize that social interaction is the central underlying driver for economies. From the Washington Post, in the words of Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank: “The wheels of the economy can’t continue to turn as fast if the whole country avoids social interaction and tries to live online through the Internet. With less store traffic, merchants may have to actually cut prices instead of raising them.” – Rahul Oka 2020 SEA Program Chair (March 11, 2020)

Stay well everyone.

With my very best regards,
Cindy Isenhour (SEA President 2019-2021)