Program chair: Sibel Kusimba, American University.
Local organizer: Ty Matejowsky, University of Central Florida.

Download the SEA 2019 Annual Meeting Program

Conference Keynote: Wealth in People: Hope, Finance and a Life Worth Living

Dr. Erik Bähre
Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Leiden University
Postbus 9555
2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Call for Papers

The concept of “wealth in people” encompasses the way that people, persons and personhood are understood to have value, and how social systems define equivalency between human value and the value of other valuables and commodities, often in ways that are unspoken, uncomfortable, or dangerous. Human value may come from expertise, productive or reproductive abilities or other intrinsic qualities; their reputations around these qualities; their class, rank, or status; family, caste or group membership; or their spiritual or supernatural linkage. Human value may be influenced by hierarchy or inequality based on gender, class, race, identity, or disability, therefore including embodied inequalities.

The wealth in people perspective also includes related concepts such as human capital and labor. It explores how people are folded into gift and commodity circulations through debt peonage, clientage, and bridewealth. It includes ways that the value of personhood can be converted and extended into material value, such as grave goods and mortuary practices, icons, media representations, heirlooms, possessions/gifts, and monuments; or into money value such as salary or insurance. The proposed SEA theme will examine the continuing importance, but also the limitations and needed extensions of the concept of “wealth in people” for contemporary social scientists considering how calculations and valuations around persons and personhood shape social life.

The conference will grapple with longstanding and novel forms, techniques and notions of value, wealth and personhood. The topic is inherently interdisciplinary, and we welcome submissions from cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, geographers, sociologists, historians, human biologists, and applied and practicing social scientists on topics relating to value, wealth, humans, persons, and personhood. We welcome studies that extend the concept of wealth in people, as value is never just material and as persons and personhood is not limited to bodies and individuals. Such studies might include but not be limited to

How and why people are given value, because of their expertise; ability; experience; creativity; nobility, class, rank, or status; family, caste or group membership; spiritual or supernatural connections;

  • Embodied value, embodied inequalities; relational value;
  • Hierarchy or inequality in the value of persons based on gender, class, race, identity, disability, or other subject positions
  • Value of labor and labor theories of value; concepts of human capital; the value of emotional, reproductive and caring labor
  • Commodification of humans: enslavement, slave trade, prostitution
  • Materializing the value of persons through grave goods, mortuary treatment and ritual, monuments, personal possessions and artifacts
  • Human bodies and remains, and the marks they bear of wealth, poverty, and labor though health, stress, and embodied practices
  • Human remains: ownership, transfer, stewardship, desecration
  • Bride wealth, bride price, wealth transfers at rituals of the life cycle
  • Ideas/practices/taboos around love, relationships and money
  • Accountability and liability: compensating for and atoning for the loss of human lives, sacrifice and self-sacrifice
  • Wages, salaries and the value of persons: regimes for valuing CEOs, leaders, engineers and inventors; corporate headhunting; calculating workers’ wages or benefits; pricing the professional athlete, entertainer and celebrity
  • Finance: creditworthiness, relational accounting
  • Life and health insurance: moral and calculative regimes
  • Value of persons, genes, body parts or biological systems under new medical systems
  • Reproductive technologies and values of future/potential people and those not yet born

Paper and Poster Abstract Submission

Abstract deadline for papers and posters is Friday, December 21, 2018.

Abstracts of proposed papers and posters should be no more than 250 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 for the conference, you must first register for the conference. For information about registration, see below.


Registration for the conference is open! To register, follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Log in. If you are not a AAA member, you may still create a login id.
  3. Click on Attend Events, then select Section Meetings, then 2019 SEA-Society for Economic Anthropology.
  4. This will lead you to a series of prompts for paying for registration.
  5. After you register, you will receive two emails. One will be the receipt from AAA. The second email contains a link to submit an abstract.

Venue: UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management

All conference meetings will take place at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management of the University of Central Florida, which is approximately 1.4 miles from the Hampton Inn and Suites Orlando.

Located just minutes from some of the world’s top-rated attractions, resorts, restaurants, and convention spaces, the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management provides students with an unrivaled opportunity to learn and work in the industry’s leading market. Situated in the heart of hospitality, UCF Rosen College also looks like it belongs in a world-class destination: its 159,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, Mediterranean resort-style campus is the largest facility ever built for hospitality management education.

Meeting Locations

  • Classrooms (45-100 guests) – Keynote, Breakout Sessions
  • Disney Dining Room (up to 175 guests) – Conference Lunch, March 1st
  • Gazebo-Courtyard – Keynote Reception, Session Breaks
  • Kings Orlando – Saturday Night Banquet


A block of 40 rooms has been reserved on a first-come, first-served basis at the Hampton Inn and Suites Orlando — John Young Parkway, 7500 Futures Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. Special AAA room rate is $169 per night. You can call 407.226.3999 or use this link to book a room. When making reservations by telephone, please make sure to mention the American Anthropological Association Group Block when providing your dates of stay in order to ensure that you receive the group rate.


The nearest airport is Orlando International Airport, which is 10 miles from the hotel. Information about transportation options between the airport and the hotel and available from the Hampton Inn and from the airport web site.