Society for Cultural Anthropology online virtual conference

Dear APSTSN members,

I'm pleased to be able to introduce APSTSN to Displacements, the US-based Society for Cultural Anthropology's 2018 biennial conference, which this year is an online virtual conference designed to promote global geographical access and address the long-standing problem of carbon emissions from conference travel. The program linked here has many talks relevant for APSTSN, including a bevy of ecological-focused panels. Also check out the conference trailer, which gives a sense of the innovative multimedia experiments anthropologists are playing with. A description from the conference organizer is below. Dates are April 19-21, and streaming of the programming is timed to be globally accessible.

All best,

Jerome Whitington, NYU Anthropology


An international experiment in carbon-conscious conferencing and radically distributed access

April 19-21, 2018

Dear colleagues,

Displacements are in the air: episodes of profound political upheaval, intensified crises of migration and expulsion, the disturbing specter of climatic and environmental instability. What does it mean to live and strive in the face of such movements? What can fields like anthropology say in the face of these challenges?

We invite you to join us for Displacements, the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, co-sponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology, April 19-21, 2018. For the first time in the field of anthropology, this major meeting will take place as a virtual conference, as an international experiment in carbon-conscious conferencing and radically distributed access. This is a conference that will itself displace our conventional modes of academic gathering, taking place wherever participants tune in individually and collectively.

Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one of the chief ways that an academic livelihood contributes to carbon pollution. Our format is also meant to enable broader geographic access and participation, most especially in a political climate of intensified restrictions on international travel. We have set the conference registration fee at a flat $10 with expanded access to anthropological knowledge and dialogue in mind. The conference brings together pre-recorded presentations from anthropologists, filmmakers, artists and activists in 46 countries, with participants tuning in from many other places as well.

The conference program for Displacements includes three days of visually rich and engaging multimedia work, streaming continuously from the conference website to suit the needs of those tuning in from any time zone. The program includes a festival of recent ethnographic films, and robust features for live chatting and interactive discussion. Local institutions in dozens of places around the world have also sponsored local conference nodes where participants will gather for collective viewing sessions as well as local workshops and conversations of their own. These sites will bring the conversation to many cities in the global South, from Shanghai and Kolkata in Asia, to Addis Ababa and Dakar in Africa, to Cartagena and Lima in South America.

Take a look at our conference trailer, which will give you a feel for some of these engaging and evocative conference presentations. Help us spread the word about this effort by sharing these details and our poster with your colleagues and students, your research networks and your institution’s social media outlets. And please consider registering for the conference and tuning in next week as things kick off. We welcome your participation in this experimental endeavor, an effort to develop a form of conferencing most suitable for the difficult challenges of this time.

Get in touch with with your ideas and questions for the conference organizing committee at And keep us in the loop with #displace18.