David Anderson and Joshua Smith invite submissions for a panel on Cold War anthropology at the upcoming AAA Annual Meeting, to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia from November 20-24, 2019. The panel abstract and details for submission are provided below:
Warm Words in a Cold Climate: Curiosity and Cooperation in Cold-War Anthropology
The period of the cold-war is associated with a cynical stand-off between two global power blocks each asserting that they had their own answer to global inequality and justice. The anthropology of the day is often closely associated with intelligence-gathering, or worse, militarized forms of ethnographic research. This stereotype, however, does not capture the perhaps small but meaningful life-long collaborations which reached through the Iron Curtain and beyond. Moreover, anthropological and ethnographic endeavours emerged from peripheries and enclaves around the globe, either in response or in reaction to Cold War exigencies. While nation-states negotiated a nuclear stand-off, ethnographers such as Sol Tax, Ernest Gellner, Eleanor Leacock, Boris Dolgikh and Iulia Averkieva explored comparative Arctic ethnography or questioned the origins of hierarchy and inequality, or the nature of the human person. Several Cold-War era institutions, such as the Arctic Institute of North America, sponsored ambitious sets of translation guided arguably by curiosity as much as suspicion. We welcome papers that expose and explore the many sides of this classic conflict to develop a new model of how transnational anthropological collaboration can defuse geo-political stand-offs. We particularly welcome reflections from across all sites of the Cold War from Africa, to Cuba, to Southeast Asia.
Submissions can be forwarded to Joshua Smith at
The deadline for submissions is April 5, 2019.