Landscapes of Value/Economies of Place

March 4-5, 2021

Virtual Conference
(hosted via Zoom and Washington University in St. Louis)

Conference Program.
Gather Guidance & Map

Cosponsored by Culture and Agriculture

Program Co-Chairs:

Andrea Rissing
Ohio State University

Brad Jones
Washington University at St. Louis

For conference related questions, please email

Conference Keynotes:

Madeleine Fairbairn
Environmental Studies
University of California at Santa Cruz
Recent book: Fields of Gold: Financing the Global Land Rush

Rashid Nuri
Founder, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture
Atlanta, GA
Recent book: Growing Out Loud: Journey of a Food Revolutionary

Call for Papers

At the 2021 meeting of the Society of Economic Anthropology, we will explore the multiple, contradictory ways through which people imbue landscapes and places with value. Cosponsored with the AAA’s Culture and Agriculture section, the theme “Landscapes of Value/Economies of Place” is deliberately capacious. It includes farmland investors and land reform advocates, calculating the costs of bushfires and extracting natural resources, forensic ‘body farms’ and Cahokia mounds, gentrifying neighborhoods and cap-and-trade markets. It also includes the various efforts to homogenize diverse economic landscapes, and the counter-efforts that seek to secure and sediment place-based boundaries. It attends to the ways in which landscapes and locales have been branded, bought, and sold at different places and times, and how regional actors work to imagine and institutionalize economic formations less dominated by market logics. It asks, what non-monetary values are revealed through people’s relationships to diverse landscapes? And what unexpected landscapes do people interface with in their efforts to generate, capture, or exchange value?

Many processes of interest to anthropologists — globalization, localization, protectionism, commodification, enclosure — are inescapably place-based. These processes shape and are shaped by the specific ecologies, historical legacies, cultural perspectives, existing infrastructures, and institutional priorities in which they unfold. By using the lenses of landscapes and places, we hope to interrogate how such processes (and the generative tensions between them) have played out differently in different parts of the world, at different historical junctures.

At this conference we seek to place in productive dialogue the theme’s multiple meanings. For instance, as forests burn to expand cattle grazing in the Amazon, tensions arise between the value(s) of productive farmland, global commodity markets, national GDP, subsistence livelihoods, indigenous cosmologies, and ecosystem services. Likewise, as cities become sites of international tourism (e.g. Venice), conflicts emerge over the worth of cultural heritage, culinary/craft practices, local production, displaced populations, democratic process, and the global marketplace. In short, landscapes of value transform at the same time as the value of landscapes. Place-based economies can persist, sometimes thrive, as places enter global economic regimes.

We seek presentations that engage “Landscapes of Value / Economies of Place” from diverse vantage points, ethnographically, spatially, and historically. Do people’s economic relationships to present landscapes differ in degree or in kind from the past and the probable future? How do such complex processes play out differently across specific locations? Who stands to benefit, and who bears the cost? What contexts best exemplify or complicate these general dynamics? What meanings, values, production processes, livelihood strategies, economic formations are changing (and which resist change), and with what everyday and extraordinary consequences?

We welcome empirically-grounded presentations on topics that explore but are certainly not limited to the topics listed below.

  • Economic efforts to regain, retain, or reinvent place-based practices, meanings, and livelihoods in the face of commodification or corporate governance
  • Comparing frameworks for determining, pursuing, conserving, or exploiting values understood to be embedded in landscapes
  • Competing indices or metrics for judging a landscape’s value.
  • Landscape management policies, implemented at different scales and different times.
    Creative countervailing forces to processes of economic globalization, including local currencies, community financing, alternative economies, or land trusts.
  • Landscape changes and landscape-based responses to globalizing commodity chains, transnational trade, international tourism, or other processes of globalization.
  • Marketing specific places as sites of tourism, heritage, investment, or resource extraction
  • Agriculture’s impacts on landscape and climate, and climate’s impacts on agriculture, past and present.
  • Land development as enacting and/or envisioning particular values in rural, suburban, and urban locales
  • Processes of localization, embedding, or social protectionism in particular places.
  • Struggles between competing agrarian and agroindustrial visions of landscape valuation
  • Effects of technologies, such as agricultural, energy, transportation, or waste disposal, on landscapes past and present.
  • Dynamics and differential effects of investment in place: including (re)development, gentrification, urbanization, extraction, and displacement in specific times and locales.
  • The landscape features of cemeteries and burial grounds as reflecting and enacting certain values.
  • People’s investment in landscapes and places with which they do not physically engage, emotionally, financially, or otherwise.

Abstract Submission Guidelines

The 2021 SEA Meeting will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar, which means that our scholarly work will need to be presented somewhat differently than in most previous years. The meeting will be held as a live, synchronous event. A schedule of presentations will be pre-publicized and registered attendees will be encouraged to drop in and out as their schedules permit.

Presenters will have two choices: either a live 20 minute talk, or a pre-recorded video submitted two weeks ahead of time that will stream during the assigned time slot. All presentations will be followed by 20 minutes of live, moderated Q&A. Regardless of which option you choose, we strongly encourage creativity and thoughtfulness in your presentation approach. Take advantage of the unique opportunities a virtual conference offers and craft a presentation including video footage, audio, websites, images, or other media that will complement and communicate your scholarship. All of these will help your presentation be as engaging as possible.

In your 500 word abstract, please include a couple sentences describing your intended presentation approach and any multimedia you plan to include; these will be weighed favorably in acceptance decisions.

The deadline to submit abstracts has been extended to December 7, 2020.

Registration and Abstract Submission

Registration for the conference is now closed.

Following registration, participants will be sent a link to submit their abstract in an automated confirmation email. This email will arrive with the subject line “2021 SEA and C&A Meeting Confirmation” from the address Please save this email as it will be the only direct way to submit an abstract for the conference.

Presentation submissions will not be accepted unless the presenter is registered.