Grant Arndt, Iowa State, is seeking a few more participants for a panel on the relationship between research into the history of anthropology and the modes of historical self-consciousness evident in contemporary anthropological work.  

At a time when anthropology’s historical self-consciousness can seem trapped between extremes of defensive hero-worship or paralyzing villainization, this panel seeks contributions that explore the potential of ongoing research into the history of anthropology to enrich and inform contemporary disciplinary endeavors and move toward a more historicist reckoning with current disciplinary “histories, harms, and possibilities.” 

We welcome paper that explore how the sort of “affective, historicist orientation” long advocated by George Stocking and others with respect to past projects of anthropological research can help to historicize present practices (and presentist assumptions) in contemporary anthropology. How can we understand past projects in ways that go beyond either defensiveness or triumphalism to bring critical insights to our current situation? We encourage historicist accounts whether they engage in critical interrogations of past anthropological work or undertake what Ira Bashkow has recently characterized as “generous” efforts to recover forgotten and marginalized anthropological projects, so long as they mobilize historical research toward the production of productively critical, rather than merely affirmative, insights into contemporary theories and practices. Also welcome are papers that engage in “archaeological” efforts to uncover the historical origins of current disciplinary conventions and controversies.

Please contact me with questions or proposals: Grant Arndt at

Note: AAA has extended the deadline for beginning submissions to April 24th and the deadline for completion of submissions to April 29th.

Adrianna Link: contributions / website /