Mark Your Calendars — Boycott Panels at #AAA2015!

[updated with location details, 8/27/2015]

The annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) will take place in Denver November 17-22. Working with colleagues across the organization, we have prepared a slate of events to educate anthropologists on the situation in Israel/Palestine and the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

But perhaps most important is the AAA Business Meeting, where any potential boycott resolution will be debated and voted on: FRIDAY 20 November, 6:15-7:30pm, Colorado Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2 & 3. Please make sure to attend.

See you in Denver!


[Abstracts and participants listed below]

Wednesday, 18 November

Thursday, 19 November

Saturday, 21 November

Click here for information on additional panels relevant to Israel/Palestine that we have not organized.

Making Palestine Knowable/Marking Prevailing Discourses as Strange: Considering the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

WEDNESDAY, 18 November, 2-3:45pm, Centennial D (Hyatt Regency)

Featuring Saba Mahmood; Nancy Scheper-Hughes; Sondra Hale; Ilana Feldman; Amahl Bishara; Susan Slyomovics (organizer)

As evidenced by the 2014 annual meeting, discussing and debating the need for an academic boycott made the “strange” (as in not known or understood) realities for Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories much more familiar to AAA members. This panel will address the “denaturalizing” potential of an academic boycott to impact discourses among members of our discipline and the general public, many of whom know little about the challenges that Palestinians, and particularly Palestinian anthropologists and archaeologists, face daily. The panel will engage with the possibility of an academic boycott to make knowable the strangeness of prevailing discourses in the academy and in mainstream media, through elucidating the particularities of the construction of those discourses. Additionally, panelists will address the question: Does making the strange/unknown more familiar/known allow anthropologists to have a greater impact on public policy and debate?

Ethical Academic Advocacy for Palestinian Rights and the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions

THURSDAY, 19 November, 8-9:45am, Centennial D (Hyatt Regency)

Featuring Nadia Abu El-Haj; Kehaulani Kauanui; Roberto Gonzalez; Lisa Rofel; Kamala Visweswaran; David Lloyd; Lara Deeb (organizer)

Since at least the 1980s, anthropologists have brought discussions about the relationship between academia and ethical engagements in Palestine-Israel to the AAA. During the past two AAA Annual Meetings, these discussions have focused on whether to endorse the academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an important part of this ethical engagement. This is a key way that scholars in the US can support and advocate for Palestinian rights. At the same time, the AAA has set up a Task Force on Israel-Palestine, to independently investigate and explore these issues. Speakers on this roundtable will address these varying engagements, and raise questions and possibilities for moving forward. They will weigh in, from a variety of perspectives in anthropology and academe more broadly, on the issue of academic boycott as well as other possibilities for supporting Palestinian rights. There will be plenty of time for discussion with the audience.

Palestine-Israel, Archaeology, and BDS: Practicalities On The Ground

THURSDAY, 19 November, 10:15am-12pm, Mile High 4A (Colorado Convention Center)

Featuring Nadia Abu El-Haj; Randall McGuire; Iman Saca; Sophie Richter-Devroe; Hamed Salem; Maria Theresa Starzmann; Brian Boyd (organizer)

Sponsored By: Middle East Section

Doing Archaeology in Palestine-Israel in the 21st Century: what difference does BDS make? Much discussion on historical memory in Palestine-Israel has focused on the political appropriation of archaeological material in the creation of narratives relating to nationalist interests and colonial settlement. The appropriation of archaeology has been traced by foundational texts such as Whitelam (1996), Abu El-Haj (2001), and Finkelstein & Silberman (2001), which in turn have informed often-polarized debates within and outside the discipline. This work has established the political capital in harnessing archaeological narratives in Palestine-Israel, in particular their role in the construction of claims to land and to history over the course of the 20th century. However, in the post-9/11, post-Bush, post-Second Intifada worlds, archaeology finds itself in a very different political, academic – and physical – landscape. The reality on the ground has changed. What kinds of archaeologies have emerged from the changed historical conditions of the last fifteen years? How does archaeology now inhabit those changed conditions? This session brings together scholars who are currently carrying out archaeological, and archaeology-related, research projects in Palestine-Israel, particularly in the West Bank and Jerusalem. While acknowledging the continuing salience of issues around the “the political use of archaeology”, the aim in this session is to broaden the scope. The contributors will address the everyday practice of doing archaeology in the face of current political circumstances in the region. The roles of universities, of professionals and students, the contributions of local communities, and the place of the altered remnants of European colonial archaeological institutions will be addressed. Emphasis will be placed on collaborative projects between different institutions, organizations and individuals, and consideration will be given to the future of archaeology as a discipline in the new historical and geographical circumstances of Palestine-Israel.

We Want To Breathe: The Racialization of State Violence in A Global Context

THURSDAY, 19 November, 10:15am-12pm, Mile High 4A CCC 605 (Colorado Convention Center)

Featuring Amahl Bishara; Nadine Naber; Mariana Mora; Courtney Desiree Morris; Mohan Ambikaipaker; Sergio Lemus; Sami Hermez (co-organizer); Gilberto Rosas (co-organizer)

Sponsored By: Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists and Association of Black Anthropologists

This panel contemplates the complex linkages between state violence and racialization in multiple sites across the globe. The recent police killing of several unarmed black youth in the United States, the Israeli military onslaught unleashed on the Palestinians in Gaza, the disappearances and murder of students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, and various other forms of terror wrought on non-white bodies around the world in the name of counter-terrorism, must be analyzed relationally. Their biopolitical, ideological, historical, and material linkages as well as their differences must be fleshed out in order to think more carefully and consciously about spaces of solidarity, engagement, and resistance across borders. In toggling between the need to expose the linkages of state violence on a global scale on one hand, and the desire to draw transnational connections between global struggles on the other hand, the panel will question the role of anti-racisms in global solidarity movements. The panel will also explore the inter-connections between various forms of racialized state violence, and expose how discourses of “civility,” multiculturalism, and counter-terrorism increasingly co-articulate. In particular, this panel examines the racialization of militarized policing, securitization, state repression, and mass incarceration in Mexico, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Palestine, drawing from these localized spaces of terror the global state collusions and transnational engagements and solidarities they produce.

Middle East Section BDS Q&A

THURSDAY, 19 November, 12:15-1:30pm, Mile High 4A (Colorado Convention Center)

Featuring Ilana Feldman; Lisa Rofel; Lara Deeb

How would the AAA implement a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? This session will answer questions about what a boycott would require of the AAA and how individuals can support the boycott call.

Queerying Palestine

SATURDAY, 21 November, 8-9:45am, Capital Ballroom 2 (Hyatt Regency)

Featuring Sofian Merabet; Erica Williams; Shaka McGlotten; Roshanak Kheshti; Haneen Maikey; Dana Olwan; Kamala Visweswaran (organizer)

Ongoing discussions and debates within queer studies pertaining to homonationalism and settler colonialism find material expression in relation to what Edward Said called “the question of Palestine.” This question is still very much alive—in the contested histories and lived realities of Palestinians, as well as their constrained opportunities for self-determination. Anthropology is uniquely positioned to make familiar narratives about Israel/Palestine, and their intersection with categories of gender and sexuality, strange. Queer anthropology in particular engages and contests both Euroamerican queer/feminist and neoliberal forms of theory that posit an individualizing subject of sexual identity. How do we think about Queer collectivities and national identities in relation to settler and neocolonial practices? More broadly, how do we think about the relationship between sexuality and sovereignty? This Round Table explores these issues from converging processes of racialization within the US and Middle East. It seeks to render the tropes of queer familiarity strange by exploring queer subjectivities and politics in the context of military occupation, militarism, and global political organizing.