Halperin Memorial Fund: Call for Applications 2017

The Rhoda Halperin Memorial Fund celebrates the life and work of Rhoda Halperin by supporting PhD students in anthropology who emulate her love of economic anthropology and concern for people on the social margin. In memory of Rhoda’s convivial collegiality, the Fund also encourages student professional development through participation in the scholarly meetings of the SEA and AAA. To meet these goals, students engaged in economic research focused on social exclusion and poverty are provided small grants for preliminary dissertation fieldwork and subsequent travel money to present their findings at the Society for Economic Anthropology annual conference.

Because Rhoda Halperin’s career exemplified the integration of anthropological theory with social activism, for the purposes of this award, economic anthropology is broadly defined to include applied and non-applied perspectives, research that engages with issues of poverty, exclusion from the political process, and access to education.

a. Any student enrolled in an anthropology (or allied field) doctoral program, regardless of citizenship or nation, is eligible for the award.
b. Strong preference is given to students early in the dissertation process rather than to those who are further along and have already developed their proposals.
c. The funds are not intended for language study.

Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements may apply for the award by providing the following materials by the deadline listed below. All materials should be submitted via email to Daniel Murphy (halperinaward@gmail.com) by December 15, 2016. We will announce awards by February 15, 2017.
a. Proposal Cover sheet
b. Abstract (100 words)
c. Project description, < 500 words about research goals, itinerary, primary research tasks,
potential outcomes
d. Curriculum Vitae
e. Letter of recommendation (included or under separate cover)
Application forms are here.

Recipients receive $2,000 for preliminary PhD research, issued upon acceptance of the award and notification to the Treasurer of the SEA
Recipients receive a one-year membership in the Society for Economic Anthropology.
Recipients receive $500 to supplement the costs of traveling to the SEA spring conference during the year following the research award to present a poster or paper on the dissertation research or background work.

The Halperin Memorial Fund is a fund of the Society for Economic Anthropology, a Section of the American Anthropological Association, which is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to The Halperin Memorial Fund are typically exempt from federal income tax, as are membership fees, but please consult your tax advisor regarding your specific situation. When you make a donation to support the Halperin Memorial Fund by check, please make your check to “SEA/American Anthropological Association” and note that the donation is for the Halperin Memorial Fund.
American Anthropological Association
attn: Accounting
2300 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 1301
Arlington, VA 22201-3386

Daniel Murphy
Chair of Halperin Memorial Fund Committee
Society for Economic Anthropology

Call for 2018 conference program chair

It’s a long way ahead, but SEA would love to hear from you now if you are interested in being Program Chair for the Spring 2018 meetings.

The Society for Economic Anthropology holds annual meetings every spring (in late March or April). These meetings focus on one specific theme in economic anthropology. Recent meetings have been on Risk and Resilience (2016), Technologies and the Transformation of Economies (2015), Energy and Economy (2014), Inequality (2013), and the Political Economy of Cities (2012). This spring (2017), the focus will be Financialization and Beyond: Debt, Money, Wealth, and the Capture of Value.

So where do these themes come from? They come from you, interested economic anthropologists who see the chance to develop a theme of disciplinary and, usually, personal interest. Every year, the SEA Executive Board considers themes proposed by its members for future meetings. We are asking you to propose themes for future SEA meetings. If your topic is chosen, you will become Program Chair(s) for the appropriate meeting.

Why should you volunteer to be Program Chair(s) for the SEA meetings? First and foremost, it will offer you the possibility to gather together a group of colleagues interested in a similar topic. The structure and relatively small size of SEA meetings offers a chance for in depth discussion on a single topic. Second, since program chairs become editors of one of the yearly issues of Economic Anthropology, it offers you the chance to edit a publication on a topic of interest.

For each meeting, we need a Program Chair or Chairs; one or a team can volunteer to chair. We also need a Local Arrangements Coordinator, a person who can facilitate meeting arrangements. The Program Chair/Local Arrangements Coordinator can be the same person or team. However, they may be quite different people, from different places.

We are now looking for possibilities for the Spring 2018 meetings. If you are interested, please send a short paragraph to SEA President, Dolores Koenig (dkoenig@american.edu) as soon as possible. The Board would like to begin discussing possibilities when we meet at the AAA meetings in a couple of weeks.

At this time, we do not need a finished proposal, but a several paragraphs about the theme and the possible program chairs would be useful.

2017 SEA conference call for papers: Financialization and Beyond: Debt, Money, Wealth, and the Capture of Value

SEA Annual Conference 2017

Financialization and Beyond: Debt, Money, Wealth, and the Capture of Value

When: April 6-8, 2017

Where: University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

Abstracts due December 1, 2016

Finance is hard to escape. In recent years, the increasing social impact and interconnection of ?nancial discourses, markets, actors, and institutions have been understood under the broad concept of financialization. Natascha van der Zwan identifies three distinct research streams that have approached financialization as 1) a regime of accumulation, 2) the influence of financial markets and instruments on non-financial corporations as well as the banking and finance industry, and 3) a discourse of risk-taking, self-management and self-fulfillment that is transforming people into investing subjects. Some anthropological skeptics, however, argue that finance has a far longer genealogy than the financialization literature has to date recognized. For example, in the context of a lengthy human history of creating hierarchy, financialization may simply be a new technology serving an old purpose.

On behalf of the Society for Economic Anthropology, and in co-sponsorship with the International Sociological Association’s Economy and Society Research Committee, we aim to put in dialogue divergent visions of what constitutes finance and financialization, and how finance and financialization impact our societies. The program committee especially welcomes scholarship from anthropologists (in all sub-fields), sociologists, scholars in the social studies of finance, and other social scientists who do not necessarily self-identify as financialization scholars, but whose work provides comparative, historical, ethnographic, or quantitative insights into the workings of finance and financialization.

As an initial organizing tool we have divided areas of potential contributions into three categories of inquiry. These are not exclusive categories and we welcome contributions that don’t readily fit in what we outline.


  • Finance predates capitalism. Therefore, what are relevant cross-cultural, historical, and archaeological cases which help illuminate our current moment?
  • Tracing who owes what to whom is as old as the discipline of anthropology. Do new financial instruments such as credit default swaps share forms and logics with older kinds of reciprocities?
  • Are the new instruments of finance comparable to those found in the cultural and archaeological record, and especially to other forms of debt?
  • Numerous scholars have argued that financialization is creating new subjects and selfhoods, accompanied by a shift of risk from states to households. What are the material objects, spaces, and infrastructures that translate financial abstraction into new ways of understanding personhood?

Wealth, Money, and Financial Instruments

  • Does financialization alter our comprehension of what kind of social organization goes with what type of wealth—a leitmotif in the comparative study of human societies, particularly since the rise of agriculture?
  • How can we interpret potentially novel forms of financial innovation, such as Islamic finance and banking?
  • How do ideologies such as shareholder value or social finance transform economic practices?
  • How do non-elites use new forms of money (such as phone cards, paypal, gift cards, local currencies) to alter hierarchies or seek alternative forms of wealth accumulation? How and with what consequences are elites transforming money’s materiality?

Depoliticization and the Capture of Value

  • Many have noted that financialization promotes a depoliticizing process, in which state services, formerly held accountable to government, are now being replaced by private markets. How do these processes compare to other instances of political drift and shift that have come with new modes of abstraction?
  • How is finance racializing and gendering? Where can we observe moments of openness, where finance can be emancipatory?
  • What kind of ethics, politics, and social goals do financial elites envision? How do these compare to those brought into being by classes that dominate the wealth and financial systems in different cultural or economic contexts? What new forms of informality are promoted by financialization?
  • The supply chains of financial products connect different places and political projects across the globe. How do such financial instruments transform social life?

We request abstracts for both papers and posters on these topics. Please indicate whether your abstract is for a paper, a poster or either. Proposed papers must pertain to the meeting theme. SEA also welcomes poster abstracts on any aspect of economic anthropology.

Publishing Opportunity

The Society for Economic Anthropology publishes Economic Anthropology, a peer reviewed journal published electronically via the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Each year Economic Anthropology dedicates one of its two issues to the theme of the SEA meeting. A special issue on financialization will be developed from select conference presentations.


Fabio Mattioli, New York University, fabio.mattioli[at]nyu[dot]edu
Aaron Z. Pitluck, Illinois State University, Aaron.Pitluck[at]IllinoisState[dot]edu
Daniel Souleles, Brandeis University, dsouleles[at]brandeis[dot]edu


Abstract submission deadline is December 1, 2016: submit via instructions below

Abstracts of proposed papers and posters should be no more than 500 words. Abstracts are advised to include the following information: problem statement or theoretical frame, methodology, findings, and implications. If you submit a paper abstract, please indicate your willingness to present a poster if the organizers are unable to accommodate your paper in the plenary sessions. Poster sessions at SEA are taken very seriously, and most conference participants attend these sessions. In order to be considered for inclusion in the journal issue tied to this theme, please plan to have a complete, publishable-quality version of your paper ready at the time of the conference. Additional information for potential authors will follow.

To submit an abstract, you must first register for the conference through the AAA. At the moment, the registration site is not yet available on the AAA web site. SEA is working with AAA to get the registration site up; this will occur shortly.

  1.  Go to americananthro.org and log in.  If you don’t have a login id and password, create one (you do not need to join the American Anthropological Association).
  2.  Once you are logged in, look to the left hand column, click on Meeting registration.
  3.  Click on register under the SEA 2017 Annual Meeting then follow online prompts to register for the meeting (if we do not accept your abstract and you decide not to attend, you may request that your registration fee be refunded and we would be happy to do so).
  4.  Once you are registered, AAA will automatically send you an email inviting you to submit an abstract.  Click the link and follow the instructions.

The Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize: Call for Submissions

The SEA Book Prize Committee is looking for the best book in economic anthropology published over the last 3 years. The committee requests nominations for single-authored volumes published between 2014 and 2016 that focus on issues in economic anthropology. Author must be SEA members at the time of their book’s submission. Nonmembers whose books are nominated will have the opportunity to join the SEA and be considered for this prize. SEA is a member organization of the American Anthropological Association.

Previous winners of the Society for Economic Anthropology’s book prize are:

  • 2003 Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia by Karen Tranberg-Hansen
  • 2005 Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World by Ted Bestor
  • 2008 Global Outlaws: Crime, money and power in the Contemporary World by Carolyn Nordstrom AND Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists by Richard Wilk
  • 2011 Coffee and Community: Maya Farmers and Fair Trade Markets by Sarah Lyons
  • 2014 The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India by Sarah Besky

The book prize includes a $500 award, and will be presented during the Society for Economic Anthropology spring meeting and announced in the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology News.

Deadline for nominations is November 1, 2016.

Books must be published in 2014, 2015, or 2016.

Nominations must include

  1. Author (s) name(s)
  2. Book title
  3. Publication information including date and publisher
  4. A paragraph summarizing the book’s argument
  5. A brief description of how the nominated book fits into economic anthropology
  6. Contact information for submitter (name, email, and phone number)

Please email your nomination, including book title and author name(s) to the book prize committee co-chairs, Deborah Winslow (dwinslow[at]nsf[dot]gov) and Sarah Besky (sarah_besky[at]brown[dot]edu). Please put “SEA book prize nomination” in the subject line of the email. Questions may be addressed to Deborah Winslow.

Seeking applicants for Editor, Economic Anthropology. Deadline for Submissions: November 4, 2016

The Society for Economic Anthropology seeks applications for Editor of
the SEA journal, Economic Anthropology, an AAA publication through Wiley Online and indexed in AnthroSource. As of 2016, the Editor oversees production of two issues per year.

The position is an unpaid service commitment, but offers unusual opportunities for advancing the scholarship of economic anthropology and for contributing to the life force of the SEA. Economic Anthropology had the highest rate of growth for readership across all the AAA journals in 2015. The number of full-text downloads of EA articles increased from 3,279 in 2014 to 7,165 in 2015—an increase of 119 percent.

The position will begin officially in April 2017 at the SEA annual spring meeting. However, current Editor Kate Browne requests that a transitional plan begin by January 2017. This plan would include collaboration to ensure the journal’s seamless transition.

Specific tasks of Editor include evaluating submissions, locating peer reviewers, overseeing copyediting, communicating with authors, peer reviewers, guest editors, and production personnel at Wiley, supervising the flow of submissions through each step of production, maintaining timetables for two issues at different points in the production process, and keeping records. Templates for communication and database records are established.

Qualities of a successful Editor will include a strong background in writing, excellent communication skills, time management and record keeping skills, and an average of 5 hours/week during most of the year in order to stay atop of the steady demands of the journal. The SEA suggests that the editor seek support from his or her institution for the work involved with a journal that is becoming recognized for its quality and reach.

Background of Economic Anthropology
Economic Anthropology was founded in 2013 as a part of the SEA negotiations with AAA to bring the SEA into the umbrella organization. The first publication appeared in January 2014 under the capable management of Editor, Lisa Cliggett, who also oversaw production of several successive issues. Kate Browne became Editor in 2015 and initiated a shortened timeframe from submission to publication of one year.

Of the two issues per year, one, based on the previous year’s SEA meeting, is guest-edited by the Program Chair(s) of that meeting. Kate Browne inaugurated a second annual issue of EA that allows “open submissions” of papers and features both regular-length papers and a special Symposium forum with five short essays by high-profile economic anthropologists. The first open-submission issue will appear this January 2017.

Please send:
1. An abbreviated CV that documents the applicant’s qualifications for this position.
2. A statement of interest in which you discuss why you would like to edit the journal, what strengths and capabilities you would bring to the editorship, and the support you anticipate receiving from your institution.

Please send Applications to: Lynne Milgram, Chair, EA Search Committee at lmilgram@faculty.ocadu.ca
Deadline for Submissions: November 4, 2016.

Economic Anthropology – Issues List:
January 2014: EA 1:1 —Social Economies of Greed and Excess
January 2015: EA 2:1 —The Political Economy of Cities
June 2015: EA 2:2 —Inequality
January 2016: EA 3:1 —Energy
June 2016: EA 3:2—Technologies and Transformation of Economies
January 2017 EA 4.1—Open issue with Symposium Essays
June 2017: EA 4.2—Risk and Resilience