Hello Economic Anthropologists!

I hope that you are looking forward to our next annual meeting in scenic Athens, GA, April 14-16, themeed Risk and Resilience.

As you may have heard, AAA is in the process of revamping their entire website.  As a result, we have been told that they cannot set up a conference registration and paper/poster submission portal for us until Nov 2.  As a result, we will extend the submission deadline until Dec 1.  It seems there is no way to circumvent this inconvenience.  So: Think now!  Submit later!

Please spread the word.

—Bram Tucker and Don Nelson, University of Georgia




SEA Annual Conference 2016

Risk and Resilience: Cultures, Societies, and Systems

April 14-16, 2016

University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Variability and change pervade the human experience. Farmers face crop loss due to too little or too much rainfall; herders monitor trends in disease risk and forage availability; individuals and households assess livelihood and security options before migrating to new countries or continents; small and large traders evaluate volatile market conditions; urban planners in coastal cities seek strategies to anticipate sea-level rise and hurricane-related storm surges; and industries strive to balance profits with the health and safety concerns of their workers and local communities. Scholars have approached risk and resilience from multiple perspectives:  attitudes and preferences, buffering and coping strategies, forecasting hazards, risk perceptions, anxiety and worry, causal explanations for misfortunes, local and systemic adaptation, sociopolitical patterns of vulnerability, and policy interventions, among others.  The range of engaged research domains creates both synergies and inconsistencies in concept definitions.

The objective of this year’s conference is to attract a cross-section of this diversity to promote creativity and novelty in the ways in which researchers think about their work. What, for example, might public health researchers exploring HIV/AIDS mortality risk and those seeking to understand social justice implications of industrial pollution learn from each other? Or, how might research on cultural interpretations of environmental risks complement work on climate change adaptation? What is the value of our conceptual insights in a world filled with inequitable and seemingly increasing risks?  What lessons can we learn by understanding how people adapted to risk historically and in prehistory?


As the title implies, the program promotes a set of contributions with a range of focus that may include individuals, political, social and economic contexts, or research that works to bridge analytical scales.  As an initial organizing tool we have divided areas of potential contributions into three categories of inquiry. Please know that these are not exclusive categories and we welcome contributions that don’t fit readily in what we outline below.


·       How has human culture evolved to perceive, anticipate, and cope with resource variability?

·       What are the roles of ecological and cosmological knowledges in explaining economic misfortunes and coping with their aftermath?

·       How well do theories of rationality (rational choice, bounded rationality, ecological rationality) handle cultural variability in risk attitudes and responses?

·       Why do people in different communities evaluate the risks of pollution, war, and new technologies differently?

·       How does culture influence perception of and response to long-term changes (sea-level rise) or stochastic variation (financial markets)?

·       How do people in different cultures learn to forecast future economic and agronomic outcomes?

·       Are there some predictable similarities in production, exchange, or investment strategies among peoples who live in highly variable versus stable environments?

·       To what degree is probability a culture-specific tool for thinking about risk versus a generalizable principle?



·       How do households, communities, and governments cope with mundane and extraordinary misfortunes?

·       Under what conditions do traditional institutions of reciprocity and redistribution effectively and equitably buffer risk?

·       In what ways does the market economy reduce risk or contribute additional risks?

·       How and how well have prehistoric and historic societies coped with variability and change?

·       How do regional and national scale political processes influence local-level capacity to cope with variability and change?  What are some of the unintended consequences of these processes?

·       How do individuals and households use financial, human, and social capital and social networks to anticipate or cope with misfortune?

·       How do political and ecological forces create landscapes of vulnerability, and how do these change over time?

·       How do societies differentially assume public or private responsibility for managing financial, production, distribution, or other types of risks?

·       What are the roles of risk management tools such as flood insurance maps or economic risk assessments? How does this type of technical approach or language sculpt our understanding of risk?  



·       When do risk adaptations lead to system-wide changes resulting in transformations of patterns of production, labor, exchange, migration, and consumption?

·       What are risk-related trade-offs amongst the capacities for managing system-level resilience?

·       What are the relationships between rates and magnitudes of change and the ability to govern complex adaptive systems?

·       How do narratives of system identities relate to perceived and priority risks?

·       What is going to happen to California now that they have no water?  What is going to happen to the Arctic now that they have less ice?  What is going to happen to mountains now that they have fewer glaciers?  What shall happen to island and coastal economies with sea-level rise?  What lessons can we learn from previous environmental changes like the Little Ice Age, 1200 – 1850?

·       How may anthropology help us anticipate the “unintended consequences” of regional and state level risk management?

·       In what ways do pluralistic approaches influence the management and resilience of systems?


ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: DECEMBER 1, 2015: submit after NOVEMBER 2 via  aaanet.org

Abstracts of proposed papers and posters should be no more than 500 words. 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.



Bram Tucker, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia.  bramtuck [at] uga.edu

Don Nelson, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia.  dnelson [at] uga.edu