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SEA Statement of Solidarity: Juneteenth

The Executive Board of the Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA) and the Economic Anthropology Editorial Office and Board stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn racism and racialized state violence —as well as the use of force against people protesting oppression in their communities. We demand justice for the families of Tony McDade, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and far too many other lives taken by a long and deep history of anti-Black racism and violence.

Economic anthropologists must do more to illuminate the mechanisms that enable structural inequalities—to question oppressive economic logics, to press against the devaluation of Black labor, and to condemn the racist designs that deny justice and limit access to education, healthcare, employment, fair wages and housing. We also recognize that structural racism has limited representation in higher education, to faculty positions, to publication opportunities, and to inclusion in anthropological instruction. We acknowledge that the most important voices for building emancipatory research and action are too rarely heard outside the confines of critical race theory. To our colleagues posting to #BlackInTheIvory and to the Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA)— we hear you.

Today, on Juneteenth, the SEA resolves to move beyond introspection to begin the process of actively dismantling the structures put in place by colonialism and white supremacy. We commit to centering diverse voices and forms of knowledge to clear a way for the imagination of just economic systems that affirm human dignity and enable ALL humans to thrive.

We understand that this is just the beginning and are committed to a long-term process. Today, in honor of Juneteenth, the SEA commits to:

  • SEA Inclusive Syllabus Project: this collaborative project aims to broaden economic anthropology knowledge and instruction—ensuring stronger inclusion of research from BIPOC and other underrepresented perspectives (e.g. Queer, Feminist, Arab, LatinX…) in economic anthropology classrooms.
  • Recruitment and Inclusive Representation: We commit to actively supporting members of historically underrepresented groups interested in joining SEA for annual meetings, leadership positions, and for all award competitions.
  • Active Anti-Racist Programming: The SEA resolves to examine the format and content of our annual conference programming to support underrepresented voices and to engage with themes centered on how economic anthropology can contribute to the creation of just and fair economic systems that enable all humans to thrive.
  • Proactive Publication: The Editor and Editorial Board of Economic Anthropology commits to proactively inviting special issue proposals, papers and symposia contributions focused on the construction of just and anti-racist economic forms.
  • Building Bridges: The SEA encourages all members to seek out partnership by joining other relevant AAA sections [e.g., Association for Feminist Anthropology (AFA); Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA); Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA); Association of Indigenous Anthropologists (AIA)]

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)

SEA News!

Dear SEA Members –
Here is some recent news from the society. Please pardon the bullets, I’m trying to keep it short and sweet for your reading expediency!

SEA 2020 Spring Meeting
– Rahul Oka (2020 Program Chair) is working on a very exciting program for this year’s meeting at Notre Dame. Please register to come learn and think with us about convenience!

AAA 2020
Abstract submission for AAA2020 in St. Louis is open! Please submit your panel and paper ideas to SEA for review. The deadline is April 8th.
Section Guest Registration Waivers: SEA can nominate a non-AAA member (usually an international scholar, non-anthropologist or local community member) for a registration and membership waiver for the annual meeting. If anyone is organizing a panel that includes one of these folks and is interested in applying for a guest registration waiver, please contact me as soon as you can. I need to submit our section’s nomination by March 16.
Community Engagement Grants: AAA provides small grants to sections interested in organizing community engagement events during the AAA annual meetings. If anyone has any ideas for how we might engage local groups in St. Louis, please do let me know!

Newsletter Editor – Our wonderful Newsletter Editor, Walter Little, will be stepping down in November. We are still looking for someone to replace him. Please let me know if you are interested!

Student Awards:
– A BIG congratulations to this year’s M. Estellie Smith Memorial Fund Winner: Fern Thompsett (Columbia University) “The Anti-Civilization Movement in the U.S. Pacific Northwest: Building Worlds Beyond Civilization, Towards Sustainability”
– Also BIG congratulations to this year’s Halperin Memorial Fund winners: Esra Padgett, The City University of New York, “Technologies of Transaction: Possibilities and Limitations of Cryptocurrency in the US Adult Industry”; AND Rachael Stephens, University of Pennsylvania “Valuating real estate equity and valuing social equality: property valuation and school finance inequality in Greater Hartford, Connecticut”
– The call for submissions for the Schneider Paper Prizes will be announced shortly! Keep an eye out!

That’s it for now!

Cindy Isenhour
President, Society for Economic Anthropology

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