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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Australian Anthropological Society Conference in November 2013

Australian Anthropological Society Conference in November 2013

The Australian Anthropological Society annual conference will be held 4-6
in Canberra, Australia.
There is a total of 47 sessions – see:

Two sessions of interest:
Ethnographies of the Political: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific

Nicole Haley and Jack Corbett (State, Society and Governance in Melanesia,
School of International Political and Strategic Studies, College of Asia
and the Pacific,

This session eschews viewing the political through preconceived categories
that belie the lived realities of people living in the region. Rather than
focussing on political systems and narrow definitions of government and
political institutions, this session seeks contributions from scholars who
examine politics that are broadly defined. We are particularly interested
in papers that take an ethnographic perspective that captures the robust
politics of the day-to-day.
Possible topics include: anthropologies of the state; the politics of
social and civil society movements; local forms of political
participation; community responses to extractive industries, land grabs
and neoliberalism; democratic disenchantment; and forms of local political


Ethnographies of Sorcery and Witchcraft: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific.

Richard Eves (State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, ANU) and
Miranda Forsyth (Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU).

Despite the secular view, inherited from Weber, that recourse to magical
understandings of the world decline with modernity, evidence from many
parts of the world show that this is not so. The proliferation of new
forms of sorcery, and the sharp increase in accusations of sorcery and
witchcraft resulting in horrendous attacks on alleged practitioners, defy
this view of modernity. Several comparative volumes address the
anthropology of sorcery and witchcraft in the context of modernity from
regional perspectives. These include, for Melanesia, Stephen (1987,
Sorcerer and Witch in Melanesia); for Africa, Moore & Sanders
(2001, Magical Interpretations, Material Realities) and Comaroff &
Comaroff (1993, Modernity & its Malcontents); for Amazonia, Whitehead &
Wright (2004, In Darkness and Secrecy) and for South-East Asia, Watson &
Ellen (1993, Understanding Witchcraft and Secrecy in Southeast Asia).
However, very little work that examines the relationship between sorcery
and witchcraft and modernity in the Asia-Pacific region has appeared. The
convenors are interested in rich contemporary ethnographic case studies
from the Asia-Pacific region that capture the diversity of people's
beliefs in and practices of sorcery and witchcraft. The convenors also
welcome contributions that examine how sorcery and witchcraft beliefs and
practices are being responded to by the state, religious authorities and
local communities. We hope to publish an edited collection from this


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