Lexington, Kentucky

April 9th – 11th, 2015

Keynote Speaker: Professor Barbara Mills, University of Arizona

Program Chairs:
Hsain Ilahiane, PhD, and Marcie L. Venter, PhD, University of Kentucky

REGISTER HERE (more information below)

Preliminary program /Call for papers / Paper and poster submission guidelines; Meeting format / Conference Registration, Fees / Accommodations / Travel / Regional attractions / Contact Organizers 


All the conference events will be held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

Thursday, April 9
4:00 PM Registration and check-in open (UK Student Center, Room 228)
5:00-6:15 PM Special Workshop: Publishing (Michael Chibnik)
6:14-6:30 PM Break
6:30-8:00 PM Opening Reception
7:30 PM Board Meeting
Friday, April 10
8:15 AM Introductory remarks
Session 1: Networks and Integration
8:30-8:50 AM Deborah Winslow Recursively Innovating: Entanglements of Technology, Economy, Society, and Time in a Sri Lankan Potter Community
8:50-9:10 AM Discussion
9:10-9:30 AM Patricia Urban and Edward Schortman A Newly Discovered Copper Workshop and its Implications for Ancient Mesoamerican Political Economies
9:30-9:50 AM Discussion
9:50-10:10 AM Georgia Fox Transformations, Economics, and Bitter Outcomes: Archaeological Investigations at Betty’s Hope Plantation, A Case Study as it Reflects 300 years of Caribbean Sugar Production and Trade
10:10-10:30 AM Discussion
10:30-10:40 AM Break
10:40-11:00 AM Sue Roberts Shipping Containers as Market Devices
11:00-11:20 AM Discussion
11:20-11:40 AM Allen Batteau Innovation and the Common Good Between Core States and the Technological Periphery
11:40-12:00 AM Discussion
12:00 – 1:30 PM Business Lunch: SEA Student Paper Prize Presentation
Session 2a: Innovation and Transformation
1:30-1:50 PM Carmen Bueno Reconfiguring Innovation Practices
1:50-2:10 PM Discussion
2:10-2:30 PM Kenneth Hirth and Ann Cyphers Transforming Early Economy: The Appearance of Obsidian Blade Technology at Olmec San Lorenzo (1200-1000 cal BC)
2:30-2:50 PM Discussion
2:50-3:10 PM Jennifer Vogt Plaster Molds, Plastic Artisans: Technological Innovation in Small Local Industry in Rural Peru
3:10-3:30 PM Discussion
3:30-3:40 PM Break
3:40-4:00 PM David Pollack, A. Gwynn Henderson and Heather Worne Technological Change and the Fort Ancient Social Transformation
4:00-4:20 PM Discussion
4:20-4:40 PM Thomas Park Technologies of Power and the Metrology of Grain Storage in the Ancient Near East
4:40-5:00 PM Discussion
Session 2b: Identity and Empowerment
1:30-1:50 PM Anais Parada Social Media and Smartphone Technology in Quito Ecuador: Modernity, Access and Identity
1:50-2:10 PM Discussion
2:10-2:30 PM Nora Haenn Cell Phone Spouse: Technology and Generative Change in Mexican Migration
2:30-2:50 PM Discussion
2:50-3:10 PM Erin Kenny Phones Mean Lies: Secrecy, Sexuality, and the Soul of Mobile Technology at an East African University
3:10-3:30 PM Discussion
3:30-3:40 PM Break
3:40-4:00 PM Bob Marshall What We Might Learn from Doraemon, the Robot Cat from the Future, about How Japan’s Elderly and Their Human Caregivers will Live with Emotional Care Robots
4:00-4:20 PM Discussion
4:20-4:40 PM Martin Slama Social Media and the Transformation of Indonesia’s Islamic Preacher Economy
4:40-5:00 PM Discussion
5:00-5:30 PM Break
5:30-6:30 PM Keynote Lecture: Dr. Barbara Mills (University of Arizona) Technological Innovation, Migration, and Social Networks in the Archaeology of the Southwest
6:30-8:30 PM Plenary Poster Session (reception)
Melissa Beresford and Amber Wutich How Yapa Gifts and Casero Relationships Shape Water Outcomes in the Squatter Settlements of Cochabamba, Bolivia
Laura Cochrane Transforming Senegalese village economies through agricultural technologies
Katrina Green Black Female B&B and Guesthouse Entrepreneurs and Information Technology: A Challenge to Visibility and Marketing
Werner Hertzog Social Change, Shifting Notions of Fairness and Economic Allocation in Tzotzil-Maya Communities, Chiapas, Mexico
Kenneth Hirth, Sarah Imfeld and Colin Hirth Domestic Crafting and Household Economic Well-Being in 16th Century Huexotzinco, Mexico
Meagan Jones and Jeffrey Cohen Among and Beyond the Stalls: An Analysis of Social Networks in the Westland Flea Market
Ann Kingsolver and Shane Barton Premature Obsolescence? Digital Access Assumptions in the Policy Debate about Closing Rural Post Offices in Appalachian Kentucky
Walter Little Methodological Considerations in the Network Analysis of a Transnational Mayan Handicraft Market
Michael Lonneman Market Risks: Relationships between Agricultural Land Use and Land Cover Change
Philip Mink Modeling Indigenous Settlement Practices and Subsistence Economies within the Grand Canyon during the Formative Period (A.D. 700 – A.D. 1200)
Juliane Mueller Transnational supply chains and state production of notebooks in Bolivia
Rachael Root The Socioeconomic Roles of Tiendas in Salango, Ecuador
Heather Sawyer Technologies of Conservation: surveillance of migrant neighborhood in Roatan, Honduras
Aeleka Schortman Milpas without Beans and a Banana Republic Forever Devoid of Markets?: Exploring the Paradoxes and Perplexities of Traditional Agriculture and (Under)Development in Peri-Urban Northern Honduras
Kary Stackelbeck and Greg Maggard Negotiating the Transition from Foraging to Horticulture: Technological Change from the Pleistocene to the Mid-Holocene in Northern Coastal Peru
Richard Wallace, Johnny Luna, Melissa Leyva, Morgan Duckworth, Jessica Reape, Sierra Casas and Gia DiMaggio Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the Central Valley: Undergraduate Fieldwork Class Study and Experience
Bram Tucker A cognitive-economic anthropology of risk: How farmers, foragers, and fishers in Madagascar understand the causal influence of natural and supernatural factors on economic successes and failures
Rebecca Young Perceptions of of Homelesness and Networking Strategies among the Florida Homeless
Natalia Zotova and Jeffrey Cohen Social fields and Tajik migration
Saturday, April 11
Session 3a: Agriculture, Gardening and Community
8:30-8:50 AM Andrea Rissing Opting Out of the Technology Treadmill: Economic Strategies of Beginning Alternative Farmers in Iowa
8:50-9:10 AM Discussion
9:10-9:30 AM Maia Green Kinship, Class and New African Economies. Dairy Cows as Agricultural Technology in Tanznaia
9:30-9:50 AM Discussion
9:50-10:10 AM Megan Maurer Building a new economy with local food: Historical perspectives on the current use of urban gardening as economic redevelopment in Michigan
10:10-10:30 AM Discussion
10:30-10:40 AM Break
10:40-11:00 AM Peter Levin and Richard Beckwith Datasheds and the Remaking of Agricultural Practices: How the Internet of Things is changing agriculture.
11:00-11:20 AM Discussion
11:20-11:40 AM Josephine Smart and Alan Smart The Changing Regulatory Technologies in Food Production – is our food really safer now?
11:40-12:00AM Discussion
Session 3b: Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience
8:30-8:50 AM Samuel Dira Vulnerability, Change and Cultural Resilience to Ecological Risks among the Sidama of SW Ethiopia
8:50-9:10 AM Discussion
9:10-9:30 AM Caela O’Connell Transforming Economies: Legacies and Flexibility in the Era of Climate Change
9:30-9:50 AM Discussion
9:50-10:10 AM Cindy Isenhour Climate Change Mitigation and the Promise of Technological Progress: Defining Hope and Action in the Age of High Consumption
10:10-10:30 AM Discussion
10:30-10:40 AM Break
10:40-11:00 AM Kristin Kant-Byers Strategies Used by Artists to Minimize Economic Uncertainty and Risk in an Appalachian Tourism Destination
11:00-11:20 AM Discussion
11:20-11:40 AM Sarah Besky Postcolonial Pricing: On the Changing Nature of Numbers in Kolkata’s Tea Auction
11:40-12:00 AM Discussion
12:00 – 1:30 PM Lunch
Session 4a: Value, Representation and Consumption
1:30-1:50 PM B. Lynne Milgram Technology and New “Legalized” Zones of Commerce: Trading Pirated Audio-Visual Goods in the Philippines
1:50-2:10 PM Discussion
2:10-2:30 PM Sarah Williams Turkana Necklaces to 3D Printed Fetus Bead: When Ritualized Economies Transform Technologically
2:30-2:50 PM Discussion
2:50-3:10 PM Alicia DeNicola Asymmetrical Indications: negotiating creativity through geographical indications in North India
3:10-3:30 PM Discussion
3:30-3:40 PM Break
3:40-4:00 PM Yuson Jung Re-creating Economic and Cultural Values in Bulgaria’s Wine Industry: from an economy of quantity to an economy of quality
4:00-4:20 PM Discussion
4:20-4:40 PM Russell Edwards and Farah Britto More Production in Spite of Static Technology: The Case of Craft Beer
4:40-5:00 PM Discussion
5:00-5:20 PM Nicolas Laracuente Bourbon Archaeology: Exploring Kentucky’s Distilleries
5:20-5:40 PM Discussion
Session 4b: Finance, Fraud and Securitization
1:30-1:50 PM Jonathan Coopersmith Like Flies to Honey: Fraud, Froth, and Investing in Emerging Technologies
1:50-2:10 PM Discussion
2:10-2:30 PM Jeffrey Greger Harmful Helpers: The Many Ways Financial Management Tools Fail Silicon Valley’s Poor
2:30-2:50 PM Discussion
2:50-3:10 PM Sibel Kusimba and Yang Yang Mobile Money in Kenya: Social and Family Networks of Sending and Saving
3:10-3:30 PM Discussion
3:30-3:40 PM Break
3:40-4:00 PM Daniel Souleles How to Use the Internet to Win Friends and Study Up: Computer and Internet Mediation in a Study of Private Equity Investors
4:00-4:20 PM Discussion
4:20-4:40 PM Matthew Zook and Mark Graham Airline Hackers and Knowledge Sharing: Manipulating Spaces of Alternative Economic Value
4:40-5:00 PM Discussion
5:00-5:20 PM Masamichi Inoue Securitization as Customer Service: How Technology, Law, and Socio-Cultural Life Interact with Global Economy to Shape Policing on an American College Campus
5:20-5:40 PM Discussion
5:45-6:30 PM Closing Plenary Discussion
6:30-7:30 PM Break
7:30 PM Banquet



From early iron forging, to ceramic monetary systems, to recent currency “creations” such as bit-coin; from gathering and hunting food harvesting technologies, to farming communities seeking cell phone based climate forecasting, to booms and busts of silicon valley and the digital age, technology has been ever-present in human economic life, past and present.   Technology, whether prehistoric inventions such as the wheel, or 21st century wireless communication, intersects with social and economic life and transforms human experience.

In the ancient world technological innovations were linked to the intensification of agriculture to feed growing populations; they permitted the extension of trade routes; and they expedited the extraction and transformation of mineral resources. In many instances, technological transformations made the impossible possible, allowing for the effects of climate and geography to be mitigated for the purposes of food production. The Early Modern Atlantic World itself was the product of technological innovations spurred by economic competition between world empires. In the subsequent Industrial Age, the connections between technology and economic expansion intensified, contributing to a scale of socio-economic inequality not previously seen.

In more recent times, we see an explosion of interest in the use of new technologies to solve pressing and cross-cutting problems of social, economic and political development. Scholarly literature and popular media are replete with success stories:  workers and freelancers generating higher revenues thanks to the availability of mobile phones; migrants wiring needed cash home using mobile banking and financial formats; entrepreneurs engaging in direct exchange with customers using online platforms and electronic payments and currencies; farmers using internet-based market price bulletins and mobile phones to negotiate for higher prices for their agricultural products; e-health using wireless applications to promote health services in remote and underserved areas; e-government initiatives to curtail corruption and red tape procedures; and smart mobs employing social media (websites, YouTube, twitter, etc.) to mobilize and escalate protests in times of political and economic crises (Rheingold 2003).  These technologies are engendering new ways of doing business and innovative economic exchanges, changing practices of self-representation, diverse modalities of engaging the nation state and emergent “recursive publics” (Kelty 2008), and novel forms of collaboration, irrespective of space and time constraints (Latham and Sassen 2005).

However, these new technologies raise critical questions: are the uses of these technologies changing political, economic and social dynamics? Is the “information/knowledge society” an inclusive one that accommodates the needs and aspirations of the poor and the marginalized?

Without doubt social-cultural life, whether in the present digital age, or past mechanical eras,  is marked by a rapid speed of technical innovation, and societies eventually take advances for granted and create normative conditions for their use. As Horst and Miller (2012) recently argued “what we experience is not a technology per se but an immediately culturally inflected genre of usage.”  Consequently, the key for anthropology is to investigate these nascent technologies before they become “rapidly mundane” (ibid).   This is important because it enables us to understand how technologies are changing human lives and cultures around the world, but also vice-versa: how cultural meanings and practices can change technologies to ensure that they enhance people’s lives and values rather than constrain or limit them.

We seek papers that explore different historical and spatial “sites” where technologies, economies and social-cultural life intersect in powerful ways.  Potential themes for exploration include: the linkages between the historical development of technologies, economic systems, and social-cultural change; the role of technology in exchange and trade; livelihoods and technology; technology and political-economic change, information technology and economic development, ontological questions of economic life in the technological age, and methodological issues in the study of technologies and economies. The topic is inherently interdisciplinary, demanding diversity in temporal scale, analytical unit and theoretical orientation, and thus we welcome submissions from anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, geographers, sociologists, historians, and applied and practicing social scientists.


Horst, H. and Miller, D. 2012.  Normativity and Materiality: A View from Digital Anthropology. Media International Australia (145) 103 – 111.

Kelty, C. 2008. Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham: Duke University Press.

Latham, R. and Sassen, S. (eds.) Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rheingold, H.  2003.  Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.  New York: Basic Books.


DEADLINE: December 15, 2014

Abstracts of proposed papers and posters should be no more than 500 words. Abstracts are due no later than December 15th, 2014. Abstracts must include the following sections: problem statement and theoretical frame, methodology, results, and implications. At the top of your 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.

Abstracts of proposed papers and posters should be no more than 500 words, and should be submitted here, after completing the conference pre-registration here. Abstracts are due no later than DECEMBER 15, 2013.

POSTER PRESENTATIONS The SEA “happy hour” poster session is an inclusive and well-attended event at each annual conference. Papers not accepted for oral presentation are automatically eligible for inclusion in the poster session. Scholars whose work may not fit the central theme of the meeting are encouraged to submit a poster. The SEA always welcomes posters on any topic in economic anthropology.  

Each kiosk consists of 3 soft-sound panels, measuring 46″ W x 40″ H, and mounted on two legs per frame to form a triangular stand (6 legs per kiosk). Thus, individual posters should be no greater than 46″ wide and 40″ high.

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. Papers and posters from the SEA annual will be considered for publication in a special issue of the society’s journal: Economic Anthropology. Submitting a paper for the plenary sessions represents a commitment that you wish to be considered for inclusion in the journal. We encourage archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, economists, and other scholars concerned with the meeting theme to submit abstracts.


Registration is $100 for members, $125 for nonmembers and $70 for students. Please note that refunds can be issued up to one month in advance of the meetings in the case that your abstract is not accepted.

To Register and submit abstracts, start here. You will get the submission link in the confirmation email once you register.


SEA has reserved a block of rooms at the Hyatt Regency Lexington at a discount rate.  Rooms are $183/night for single,  double, or triple occupancy. Please make your on-line reservation before the cutoff date of March 15th, 2015 to receive the special Group Discount rate.  For reservations click here. You may also call the toll free reservation line at 800-233-1234.


The Bluegrass Lexington Airport (LEX) is 6 miles from the Hyatt Regency Lexington.  The hotel offers a complimentary airport shuttle.

Alternative airports: The Cincinnati airport (CVG) and the Louisville airport (SDF) are approximately 80 miles from the Lexington Downtown Hilton and (about 1 hr. and 30 mins drive). An advantage of SDF is that the Southwest Airlines flies there.

For those who plan to drive, the hotel location is:

Hyatt Regency Lexington

401 West High Street

Lexington, Kentucky, 40507.


All the conference events will be held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. Click on this link http://maps.uky.edu/campusmap/ for the campus map of the University of Kentucky.

Lexington and the Bluegrass Region are home to world class Thoroughbred horses, the Bourbon industry, Toyota Corporation, Wildcats basketball, and the stunning natural scenery of the Bluegrass. You may consider renting a car to take advantage of what the city and the region have to offer. Here is a select set of websites on things to do and places to visit: The City of Lexington: http://www.visitlex.com/things-to-do/ ; Kentucky Bourbon Trail: http://kybourbontrail.com/; The Kentucky Horse Park: http://kyhorsepark.com/; Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing: http://www.keeneland.com/; and Natural Bridge State Resort Park:


Hsain Ilahiane, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, hsain.ilahiane[at]uky[dot]edu, phone: 859-257-6920.

Marcie L. Venter, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506,
marcie.venter[at]uky[dot]edu, phone: 859-257-2710.