September 24-25, 2010

@ The University of Colorado at Boulder


Call for Papers

Deadline for paper abstract submission: June 15, 2010
We invite applicants to send a 250 word abstract to anthconference (at) colorado (dot) edu.

States of Belonging is a two-day conference organized by graduate students in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Events are free and open to the public.

The conference will be held Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25 and will include panels moderated by University of Colorado faculty. Gyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History at Emory University, will give the keynote address.

Belonging is at once comforting and painful, a process and performance of separation and fusion.  Etienne Balibar describes "a sense of belonging" as "both what it is that makes one belong to oneself and also what makes one belong to other fellow human beings."  Pushing further, Veena Das asks about the consequences involved in social belonging: "If societies hide from themselves the pain which is inflicted upon individuals as prices of belonging, then how do social sciences learn to receive this knowledge?"  In this conference on States of Belonging, we hope to tend to experiences, structures, and epistemologies of belonging as involving both sense and consequence.

How, for example, do we understand the complexities of what it means to belong?  We contend that the concept of belonging is crucial for understanding issues across the humanities and social sciences: from generational shifts and dislocations, questions of migration and (trans)nationality, issues for refugees and citizenship, changing gender roles and identities, and neoliberal transitions and pretenses, to communities formed through postcolonial and postsocialist orders, new media and cyberworlds, styles in fashion or music, new reproductive technologies and shifting notions of kinship, and unexpected disruptions of everyday life through war, violence, or natural disaster.  If -- as anthropologists have long contended -- processes of belonging are as much about exclusion as inclusion, then how are such processes experienced, conceptualized, reproduced or transformed? How might we best understand belonging as both a project of states as well as a state of being?  In highlighting the breadth of anthropological research and theorizing on belonging, we welcome papers on any and all topics speaking to our theme.