Southern African Anthropological Futures: Opportunities and Constraints

Hosted by the University of Cape Town
Friday 31 August – Monday 3 Sept

Southern Africa was, in many ways, a significant crucible for the early twentieth century construction of especially British Social Anthropology; and it remains a research area of significant concern for some leading contemporary anthropologists based in the USA and in various parts of Europe, whilst others from elsewhere are now beginning also to undertake research here. Within the region, the early disciplinary leaders' global presence gave way to a longish period during which the few who were most active in the discipline tended not to publish extensively with the result that that presence declined – other that is than amongst those who left the region. Yet that is no longer the case and, despite the still relatively small cohort of anthropologists in the region at present, there is an ever increasing range of work being produced with much of it having a global reach, and there are ever larger numbers of postgraduate students completing dissertations and theses within the discipline at local universities.

The conference aims primarily to provide an opportunity for students, recent ex-students and staff to showcase their work and provide indication as to the future directions of the discipline. It also aims to identify and consider the constraints that protagonists in the discipline are likely to face as local academic institutions restructure, as disciplinary boundaries are rethought and as the local socio-political context in which much research is conducted increasingly creates potential for social upheaval and conflict – even while there is an ever increasing presence of anthropologists from elsewhere treating parts or the whole of the region as an ethnographic fieldwork site. Call for abstracts 2012

The Keynote was given by Shannon Morreira 'Anthropological futures?': Thoughts on social research and the ethics of engagement by Shannon Morreira [Download]

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