2014: Imagining Utopia

THE SECOND ANNUAL PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY & UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA GRADUATE ANTHROPOLOGY CONFERENCE:

IMAGINING UTOPIA: Friday February 21st, 2014
Princeton University, 219 Aaron Burr Hall – Princeton, NJ 08544

10:00 AM: REGISTRATION

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM: UTOPIA WITHIN, UTOPIA WITHOUT: GLOBAL TRAJECTORIES
Faculty Discussant: Damien Stankiewicz (Temple)

Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela (Princeton)
Neoliberal Revolutions: Citizenship and Dreams in Postwar Guatemala
Mariam Durani (Penn)
Homes and Abroads: South Asian Transnational Ensembles and Higher Education
Nicole Nathan (Temple)
What Would Jesus ‘Like’: The Strategic Utopic and Dystopic Representations of the Mission Field
Volney Friedrich (Penn)
The Nature of Interaction At La Sufricaya, Guatemala: Evidence from Stable Isotopic Analysis of Human Tooth Enamel


12:00 PM  1:00 PM:
Lunch Break

1:00 PM  2:00 PM:  KEYNOTE

“From Comparison to Collaboration: New Directions in Comparative Law and the Anthropology of Law” Annelise Riles (Cornell)

2:00 PM   2:15 PM:  Coffee


2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: MAKING UTOPIAS LEGAL/MAKING LEGAL UTOPIAS

Faculty Discussant: Annelise Riles (Cornell)

Anna Offit (Princeton)
The Place of Imagined Jurors in Everyday Legal Practice
Kalyani Ramnath (Princeton)
Making the Modern Nation on Marina Beach: Civil Liberties Lawyering in Late Colonial Madras
Kristina Nazimova (Temple)
From Dystopia to Utopia: The Case of Angola’s Post-War Development and the Everyday Process of Reconstituting Peace
Marshall Knudson (Penn)
Towards a Semiotics of Utopian Social Projects: On the Chilean Model (and its Discontents), 1970 to Today

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: SPEAKING UTOPIA: INSCRIPTIONS AND/ONTO SPACE
Faculty Discussant: Greg Urban (Penn)

Aaron Shapiro (Penn)
Imagining Dystopia: Flash Mobs, Vicious and Virtuous
David Paulson (Temple)
Religious Place and Threads of Memory Through Time: The Dialogic Construction(s) of Cham Identity at Po Klaung Garai
Daniel Polk (Princeton)
Los Angeles Infrastructural Idealisms: Marginality, Utopia, and Identity
Saul Schwartz (Princeton)
Babel and Utopia: Language Preservation and Participant Observation

6:00 PM:Reception

Location TBA

*** 2014 Tempennton Organizers:
Autumn Zellers (Temple) / Diego Arispe-Bazán (Penn) / Kelly McKowen (Princeton)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

IMAGINING UTOPIA: THE IDEAL IN EVERYDAY LIFE

“Is this Utopian? A map of the world which does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”

– Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man under Socialism”

The Departments of Anthropology at Temple University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania are partnering for the second annual TEMPENNTON graduate student conference on Friday, February 21, 2014 at Princeton University. We invite graduate students from these three universities to submit papers that consider this year’s theme, “Imagining Utopia: The Ideal in Everyday Life.”

According to sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, utopias have the unique capacity to “portray the future as a set of competing projects, and thereby reveal the role of human volition and concerted effort in shaping and bringing it out” (Socialism: The Active Utopia, 2009. p. 5). Utopias are imagined pasts, futures, or phantasmagoric parallel presents which orient human beings within both intimate and impersonal projects of everyday life. Bauman, studying socialism, understands utopia not as fantasy or escapism but as an active, observable sociological object—an alternative which becomes a unique source of intelligibility and inspiration within its specific national/regional/local context.

Utopic visions can be fragmentary and transient–informing quotidian practices and micropractices–or more fixed and elaborate, such as those which have attended the global uprisings witnessed in the last few years, from Turkey to Brazil. We hope to inspire debate and discussion about the tensions in different conceptualizations of utopias, from the “revolutionary” to the everyday. Among other things, we ask: How do discourses of utopianism, realism, and viability shape human action? What utopian visions—i.e. of finance, of environmentalism—come to be dismissed, and what others explicitly structure dominant discourses, or protests and resistance movements? Following Oscar Wilde, which are those utopian “countries,” small and large, at which human beings are attempting to land in the early 21st century? Finally, what are the potential pitfalls and virtues of instrumentalizing utopic thinking for social change?

Imagining Utopia invites papers which reflect critically on questions pertaining to utopia, ideology, and action while considering seriously the localities where one observes the presence and circulation of utopic imagination. Although aimed primarily to engage anthropological perspectives, the graduate conference welcomes papers from all departments and disciplines from students at Temple, Princeton, or Penn. The deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday, October 18, 2013 at 5pm.  Conference speakers will be notified by November 3, and papers and/or full outlines will be due by January 31, 2014.  At the conference, each presenter will be given 15 minutes to deliver his or her paper and/or full outline, with a discussion of the papers to follow.  If you are interested in presenting at “Imagining Utopia” please email an abstract of no more than 250 words to tempennton2013@gmail.com.

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