Meeting Theme: Inequality

April 11-14, 2013
St. Louis, Missouri
Co-chairs: Carolyn Lesorogol (Washington University) and Fiona Marshall (Washington University)

Conference fees / Methods roundtable / Registration directions / Sunday sight-seeing / Accommodations / Travel / Preliminary program / Call for papers / Organizer contact

SEA 2013 Conference Registration


Conference fees include attendance at all paper and poster sessions, the keynote speech and reception on Thursday evening, continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday morning, the business lunch on Friday, and morning and afternoon break refreshments.

Non-member registration fee: $125

Member registration fee: $100

Student registration fee: $70

The Saturday banquet ($45) is an optional event, not included in the registration fee. The banquet will be at the Moonrise Hotel, a stylish boutique hotel near campus (where you may also choose to stay), and is sure to be a highlight of the conference!


We will be holding a special roundtable session on Sunday morning on research methods in economic anthropology from 8:30- 10:00 a.m. Senior scholars will be sharing their knowledge and ideas in this session which is meant to stimulate discussion and thinking about methods and approaches to studying economic issues from an anthropological perspective. This session is made possible by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation and is open to all meeting attendees at no extra charge. Please indicate your intent to participate in the session when you register.


  1. When you register online, you will be taken to the AAA website, Section meetings registration page.
  2. When you get to that page, find the SEA meeting listed.
  3. Click on the REGISTER tab.
  4. You will have a choice to LOGIN (if you are an AAA member) or CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT (if you are not a AAA member). If you would like to renew or start a AAA/SEA membership, you can do that separately on the AAA website and then come back and login as a AAA member. If not, you can CREATE an account for no charge and register for the SEA meeting by following the directions.
  5. After you login or create an account, you will be taken to the SEA conference registration page.
  6. At SELECT REGISTRATION TYPE, choose SEA Spring Meeting
  7. Select your level of registration (Member, Non-member, or Student)
  8. Select the banquet option to attend the Saturday banquet (please do; it’s fun!)
  9. Let us know whether you think you will attend the Sunday morning roundtable on research methods by checking the box for the roundtable. There is NO CHARGE for the roundtable, but we would like to have an estimate of how many people will attend.
  10. Complete payment and receive confirmation of your registration

Click here to register online. If you need a paper registration form, please contact Carolyn Lesorogol (


For those who can stay a bit longer on Sunday, we will organize sight-seeing to some fun area attractions. Forest Park, one of the greatest urban parks in the US, is right on the doorstep of Washington University, an easy walk from our conference venue. The park has miles of walking trails, a beautiful lake and fountain, boathouse and visitor center, and also the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, and world famous St. Louis Zoo—each of which has free general admission (special exhibits cost extra, usually under $10).

In downtown St. Louis, easily accessible through the Metro Link light rail, is the St. Louis Gateway Arch which has a very nice museum of westward expansion (free admission; there is a charge to go up to the top of the Arch). Nearby, are many other interesting attractions including the Old Courthouse, Laclede’s Landing, and Union Station.


We have rooms blocked at two hotels for the conference. On the campus of Washington University is the Knight Center which has lovely rooms with queen beds, a complimentary food pantry in the room, and complimentary breakfast buffet. These rooms only have one queen bed, and the special SEA rate is $109/night. You must call the Knight Center to reserve your room at this special rate: 1-866-933-9400.

We also have rooms blocked at the Moonrise Hotel which is a very nice boutique hotel about a 10 minute walk from the conference venue, on Delmar Boulevard in The Loop area of University City. Single and double rooms are available at Moonrise. The SEA rate for these rooms averages $132/night. Breakfast is not included in this rate, but it is available at the hotel restaurant (we will have continental breakfast available at the meeting). Click here for reservation at the Moonrise Hotel. Or, call the hotel to make your reservation at the SEA special rate: 1-314-721-1111.

Please reserve your rooms as soon as possible and before March 18th (Moonrise) or March 21st (Knight Center). After those dates, we cannot guarantee availability.


Many airlines fly to St. Louis, including American, Southwest, Delta, United, US Airways, Frontier, etc. It is very easy to get to Washington University from the airport by using the Metro link light rail. If you are staying at the Moonrise, you can take the Red line from the airport (the only line that departs the airport) and get off at the Delmar Loop station and walk to Moonrise which is on Delmar Blvd, a bit west of the station. For the Knight Center, take the Red line from the airport to Forest Park/DeBaliviere stop; change to the Blue line and take the Blue Line to the University City/Big Bend stop. Walk east on Forest Park Parkway a short way to Throop Drive, walk up Throop to the Knight Center. Taxis are also available at the airport and it will cost about $25-$30 from the airport to the hotels.

SEA 2013 Annual Conference: Inequality


All the conference events will be held on the campus of Washington University, in Brown and Goldfarb Halls


Thursday afternoon: registration and check-in open

6:30 p.m. Opening Reception and Keynote Speech Brown Hall
Video of keynote
Keynote speaker: John McArthur, “The Millennium Development Goals, the Eradication of Extreme Poverty, and the Future of Global Inequality”
John McArthur is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow with the UN Foundation. Formerly CEO of Millennium Promise and deputy director of the UN Millennium Project, he focuses on development economics, international organizations, and global policy mechanisms for supporting scale-up of successful activities.(


8:30 a.m. Introductory Remarks

8:45 – 11:45 Session 1: Understanding, Measuring, and Modeling Inequality

8:45-9:05 Hadas Weiss: Mortgage Debt and the Predicament of the Middle Class

9:05-9:25 Discussion

9:25- 9:45 Anna Jefferson: “Not What it used to be”: Schemas of Class and Contradiction in the Great Recession

9:45-10:05 Discussion

10:05-10:20 Break

10:20-10:45 Lee Hoffer: Modeling an economic inequality countermeasure in the heroin market and its consequences on trading partnerships

10:45-11:05 Discussion

11:05-11:25 Diana Mincyte: Coding Poverty: Comparative Perspectives on Poverty Measurements in the United States and Europe

11:25-11:45 Discussion

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Business Lunch: SEA Student Paper Prize Presentation

1:45 -4:35 Session 2: Transformations in Labor, Production, and Social Organization

1:45-2:05 Leila Rodriguez: Cooperative Farming and Migration in Rural Costa Rica: Why Reducing Inequality Promotes Migration (and Inequality)

2:05-2:25 Discussion

2:25-2:45 Justin Otten:The effects of European accession and kinship on inequality in Macedonia

2:45-3:05 Discussion

3:05-3:15 Break

3:15-3:35 Daniel Murphy: From Kin to Contract: Work, Inequality and the Emergence of Class in Pastoral Mongolia

3:35-3:55 Discussion

3:55-4:15 Liliana Goldin: Inequality of Rights: Rural Industrial Workers of Guatemala Inhabiting Tenuous Legal Spaces

4:15-4:35 Discussion

4:45-6:00 Friday Poster Session

Friday dinner (on own)


8:45- 11:40 Session 3: Trajectories of Inequality

8:45-9:05 John Millhauser: Victims or Pioneers? Identifying Environmental inequality among rural saltmaking communities in the Postclassic Basin of Mexico

9:05-9:25 Discussion

9:25-9:45 Bram Tucker: Of clan and clam: Why Inequality is increasing among Vezo fishermen but not their farming and foraging neighbors in southwestern Madagascar

9:45-10:05 Discussion

10:05-10:20 Break

10:20-10:40 Maia Green: Making Middle Income: From Poverty to the Production of Inequality in Tanzania

10:40-11:00 Discussion

11:00-11:20 Geoff Childs: Perpetuating Inequality through Education? Relative Wealth and School Sponsorships in Highland Nepal

11:20-11:40 Discussion

11:45-1:15 Lunch (on own)

1:15-4:50 Session 4: Exchange, Trade, and Inequality

1:15-1:35 Julia Bailey: The Topography of Money and Networks of Exchange between Maasai Women: Mitigating the landscape of gender inequality

1:35-1:55 Discussion

1:55-2:15 Arthur Murphy: Reciprocity and the Development of Inequality

2:15-2:35 Discussion

2:35-2:55 Christopher Gunn: Household economic interaction and political economy in the Late and Terminal Classic Maya Polity of Kiuic, Yucatan, Mexico

2:55-3:15 Discussion

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-3:50 Nicole Peterson: Unequal sustainabilities: The role of social inequalities in conservation and development projects

3:50-4:10 Discussion

4:10-4:30 Laura Cochrane: Addressing global economic inequalities in local ways in Senegal’s artisanal workshops

4:30-4:50 Discussion

5:00-6:15 Saturday poster session

7:00 p.m. Banquet Dinner at Moonrise Hotel


8:30-10:00 a.m. Economic Anthropology Methods Roundtable

10:00a.m.-1:00 p.m. St. Louis Sight-Seeing


The current recession, Occupy Wallstreet, and growing recognition of the gap between the top 1% and the middle class have brought new attention to the problem of economic and social inequality in the United States in particular and across the globe more generally. Questions regarding the origins, generation, and perpetuation of inequality in diverse societies are certainly not new to anthropologists. Anthropological and other social science research can improve understanding of the social, economic, cultural and political processes contributing to systems of inequality and stratification around the world. Better analysis of such processes not only enriches scholarship on critical issues but also has practical relevance for policy and interventions aimed at alleviating inequality.

This conference aims to bring together researchers from all fields of anthropology as well as other social sciences to present and discuss research that engages with the broad theme of inequality. There are a wide range of possible topics and questions to address. Papers and posters may address, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • At the most basic level, how is inequality defined, measured, studied and understood? How have measures and conceptions of inequality themselves changed over time? Is inequality most meaningful when considered in absolute terms of meeting basic needs or in relative terms that are context specific? How have hierarchy and inequality emerged in human societies and how are archeological remains studied and interpreted to identify social classes, early states, and relationships among state and non-state societies?
  • What socio-cultural institutions and structures create and maintain inequality among and between groups? Conversely, which social institutions and practices mitigate inequality and with which effects? For example, systems of reciprocity and leveling may reduce inequalities in small-scale societies, but such systems themselves are dynamic and changing. How have institutions and structures been affected by processes of global change such as the spread of capitalist economic systems, migration, and expanded economic exchange? What trends and patterns in inequality can we identify? While there is evidence that economic inequality has increased in the United States over the last several decades, other societies are experiencing lessening of inequality as economic growth reduces extreme poverty and brings more people into a new middle class. How are such trends experienced, understood, and explained?
  • Another set of questions surround the implications of inequality. The existence of some degree of social inequality is pervasive in human societies but the consequences of inequality may vary considerably from place to place and over time. For example, research has shown a negative relationship between economic inequality and health outcomes in society—while poorer people tend to have worse health outcomes, in societies with greater inequality these outcomes tend to persist even when basic needs are met and access to basic health services are provided. Why is this? Papers may explore the dynamic effects of inequality on important outcomes including health, education, political participation and leadership.

Poster Presentations

At the annual conference, the SEA always welcomes posters on any topic in economic anthropology. Students and scholars whose work may not fit the central theme of the meeting are encouraged to submit a poster.

The special poster session during the meeting is inclusive and a major event of the SEA conference.

Meeting Format

The SEA meetings provide a rare opportunity for a focused and coherent program of presentation, with time for critical discussion in a convivial intellectual setting. Papers are selected for a program that allows 15-20 minutes for presentation and 15-20 minutes for discussion in plenary sessions over two days; additional abstracts will be selected for the poster session. Each SEA annual meeting also produces a book (or edited journal volume) on the conference theme. Submitting a paper for the plenary session represents a commitment that you wish to be considered for inclusion in this volume. We encourage archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, economists, and scholars concerned with the topic of inequality to submit abstracts.

How to submit abstracts

The deadline for abstract submissions has passed.

Conference city

The conference will be held on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. On the banks of the great Mississippi river and at the heart of the Midwest, St. Louis is a city that exemplifies some of the contradictions we will be exploring regarding inequality. St. Louis boasts wonderful amenities and attractions (including beautiful Forest Park adjacent to Washington University) and has experienced revitalization of its downtown area, but it also manifests a high degree of economic and social inequality. Our conference will be hosted by the Brown School of Social Work whose students and faculty are directly in involved in efforts to address, ameliorate, and eliminate inequalities in St. Louis and beyond.

Contact information of organizer

Carolyn K. Lesorogol, PhD
Associate Professor
Brown School of Social Work
Washington University
Campus Box 1196
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130