CFP: Anthropologies of the United States of America. Views from near and from afar

Call for papers

Anthropologies of the United States of America. Views from near and from afar

International Conference

University of Palermo, June 15 – 16, 2017

This conference is an interdisciplinary research project intended for scholars from various fields. The aim is to discuss a historically, anthropologically and politically central country: the United States. Is it possible to see the United States as a country to be examined from multiple points of view – both from near and from afar – with particular interest in the current “anthropological” culture, while also paying attention to history and making predictions about the future? Specialists and enthusiasts from various backgrounds are invited to respond from specific perspectives, in order to compare and contrast different interpretations of the “American galaxy”. To this end, both studies of a theoretical nature and case studies are encouraged. The view from near and from afar, obviously a reference to Lévi-Strauss, alludes to a modus operandi anthropologically based on comparing and contrasting different perspectives. Anthropologists are directly concerned here, because it was in the United States that the much-discussed anthropological Postmodernism recently emerged, and because it was also in the United States that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, based on studies of Native Americans, was conceived. The reference to “anthropologies” should therefore be viewed literally (anthropologists specializing in the United States in largely ethnographic terms) and with a culturally wider meaning (linguists, comparatists, geographers, semiologists, historians, etc., who observe American culture from their respective epistemological perspectives). The reference to the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, aside from being a theoretical inclination shared by the organizers, is a happy necessity for those who study a multicultural country like the United States, with its difficult past of coexistence between colonizers and natives, as well as between the different cultures of which it is composed today.

We offer the following suggestions as possible topics of discussion, from a comparative perspective or otherwise:

Native and non-native cultures

Ancient/recent migratory phenomena


Multiculturalism and identity

Religious radicalization and New Age movements

Processes of globalization and local agency

American anthropology/other anthropologies

American literature/other literatures

The linguistic relativity hypothesis today

Everyday cultures

Tradition and modernity

Processes of homogenization and diversification of knowledge

Spaces of imagination

Places and non-places

Ecologies of landscape


Languages of power and knowledge

Current political situation

Politics of inclusion/exclusion

Oral histories


Keynote speaker:

Vincent Crapanzano, City University of New York

Scientific board:

Stefano Montes and Matteo Meschiari

Administrative organization:

Dipartimento Culture e Società

Università degli Studi di Palermo

Viale delle Scienze, 90128, Palermo, Italia

For information and to submit proposals:

Stefano Montes (

Matteo Meschiari (

Practical information:

Deadline for submitting proposals: 30 May 2017

Proposal summary and title: 250-300 words

Duration of presentations: 20 minutes

Conference languages: Italian, French and English

Conference participation is free of charge

Travel costs, accommodation expenses and meals are covered by participants or their institutions

Proceedings of the conference will be published

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