Tag Archives: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

AAA Panel CFP! Eating in the City: Foodways, Publics, and Urban Transformation


Eating has become a provocative and political element of urban contestation.  Through food, publics are effectively (re)defined and urban futures popularly (re)imagined.  As cities transform, the ways that people eat and procure food also change, along with the sociocultural meanings of food itself.  This panel will explore the relationships between these contemporary urban processes and changing food habits.  These shifting patterns of consumption and production can be linked to a variety of intertwined processes at global and urban scales — from cycles of de-industrialization and gentrification in the global north to the rapidly urbanizing megacities of the developing world.  Food studies scholars have noted the impact of such urban transformations on diets, from the (post)Fordist homogenization of industrially produced food to the highly differentiated food landscapes of today’s gentrified cities.

In response, urban publics and counterpublics are reimagining — and being reimagined through — the circulation of food and dietary discourse that draws upon a range of sources from urban agriculture and farmer’s markets to the role of grocery stores and restaurants.  Food also provides a significant public idiom for policies that address or entrench urban inequality, from “food deserts” to feeding prohibitions.  Food even renders the contemporary city’s global connections “good to think” for urban dwellers: dependent on producers they do not know and rarely see, fearful about how and where their food is produced — and where it will come from in the future – consumers circulate a host of new discourses about whole, local, organic and sustainable foods.

Panelists will pursue several questions in order to understand how food remakes the city and vice-versa: Who has access to food and who does not?  How do people come to understand their place in the urban social order through their food practices — particularly amid the urban manifestations of global political-economic restructuring and cultural change?  How do the politics of food figure in the transformation of urban spaces?  What roles do immigration and migratory foodways play in shaping modern urban life?  What of the proliferation of ever more extravagant restaurants and eating experiences for the wealthy alongside ever worsening rates of poverty, hunger and ill-health for the poor?  Above all, we ask, how are processes related to eating and urban transformation intertwined?

Abstracts should be submitted by March 1 to Maggie Dickinson (mdickinson@gc.cuny.edu).

Note from the editor: If you are organizing a food/nutrition related panel for the AAA meetings this year–or, really, for any conference–we would be happy to post it here at FoodAnthropology. Just send it along to foodanthro@gmail.comand we will take care of it.

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Filed under AAA 2013 Chicago, anthropology, Call for Papers, CFP, city, food policy, food security, Food Studies, urban

CFP: Toward Sustainable Foodscapes and Landscapes

Sustainable Foodscapes Conf logo

Call for Participation

Due Date February 1, 2013

Joint annual meetings of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS), the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN)

Toward Sustainable Foodscapes and Landscapes
June 19 to 22, 2013
Hosted by Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Conference theme:

The concepts of “foodscapes” and “landscapes” invite us to consider the broader conditions, connections and consequences of food and agricultural issues. Food is more than a simple problem of consumer behavior, just as land use involves more than farmer or policy decisions. Foodscape and landscape perspectives situate the producing, distributing, acquiring and eating of food within a richer and more complex understanding of social, cultural, economic and political processes. As well, foodscape and landscape perspectives take serious account of the context and significance of the ecological systems in which food and agriculture are embedded. Instead of being removed from or in opposition to pressing concerns such as climate change and water availability, food and agriculture are deeply entangled in many of the most critical environmental and ethical issues of our time. Charting, analyzing and interrogating sustainable pathways through this complex terrain are important work for academics, practitioners, activists, policymakers and citizens. This year’s conference will engage these concepts of foodscapes and landscapes with the aim of creating a lively, generative space for people of diverse disciplines and dispositions to explore and advance thinking and practice related to agriculture and food.

Submissions are strongly encouraged in the following three formats:

Lightning talk* (five minutes maximum, similar to Pecha Kucha, Ignite, talk20, etc.; these sessions will be videostreamed live online!)

Posters (eligible for awards, including a student category)

Pre-organized sessions (panels, roundtables, workshops, etc.)

*5 minute presentations, particularly when they include 15-20 highly visual slides, may be more effective in generating interest in your full paper than longer presentations, because they are dynamic, force a tight focus, and are likely to draw larger audiences than a conventional session. See: http://www.speakerconfessions.com/2009/06/how-to-give-a-great-ignite-talk/

Submissions are also accepted for 15 minute conventional paper presentations to be grouped with 2 to 3 other papers by members of the program committee. Note there is a possibility that these submissions will be placed in Saturday morning sessions.

We strongly encourage practitioners, activists, government staff, and those with other practical knowledges of food and agricultural systems to participate, in addition to academics. We ask submitters formulating panels, roundtables and workshops to consider including participants whose orientation goes beyond the narrowly academic.

We especially encourage submissions that speak directly to the theme, but also welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Change & Development
  • Culture & Cultural Geography
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Food Safety & Risk
  • Gender & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Inequality, Access, Security & Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Local Food Systems
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Research Methods
  • Practices & Issues
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability
  • Science & Technologies

Please note: Due to strong increases in the number of abstract submissions for this conference in recent years, in 2013, only one submission per person as lead author or submitter will be accepted (in any format).

Abstracts should be submitted online via EasyChair (signing up for an account required) http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=afhvsasfs2013 and include the following information:

  • Submitter’s name, e-mail address and organizational affiliation, and if applicable, those of co-authors
  • For organized sessions: names, e-mails and affiliations for moderator, panelists and/or roundtable participants
  • Title
  • Abstract (150 words or less). For panels, please include an abstract for the panel as a whole, and an individual abstract for each individual paper.
  • Category of submission (e.g. 5 min. lightning talk; poster; pre-organized session— specify in the abstract whether a panel, roundtable or workshop; 15 min. conventional paper presentation)
  • Keywords (3 or more)

Full papers may be submitted in pdf format, but this is not required.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance on March 1, 2013 via email.

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Filed under anthropology, Call for Papers, CFP, Food Studies

Food Stamped, The Documentary

by Janet Chrzan

A few days ago I provided a shout-out about Food Stamped to several listserves (including SAFN). In that email I wrote:

“I’d like to provide a big shout-out for the recent documentary “Food Stamped.”

It’s a movie made by a couple in Berkeley about trying to live on a food stamp budget. She teaches food education and healthy eating in elementary schools. In the movie they interview quite a lot of folks about food stamp use, from people reliant upon them to members of congress. It’s 1 hour long, which makes it do-able for many classrooms.

I particularly liked their relatively non-judgmental attitude about food choice, especially since they live in Berkeley (epicenter of foodie-ism) and were shopping at the Berkeley Bowl and Adronico’s, my old stomping grounds. In other words, they come from an area that in my experience is very, very judgmental about food choice, yet much of that is left out or reflected upon in a meaningful manner by the filmmakers. They discussed the issues of ‘healthy choice’ within the context of budget constraints in a way that was very accessible and allows for a great deal of classroom discussion, especially since they lay out their own biases verbally so that the viewer can understand how they are thinking through the issues.

A particularly strong scene involved trying to feed a Shabbat guest on a budget, since they made the comment that all people like to have guests and be social, and so it’s important to think about how food poverty affects social opportunities.”

The responses to my post have been interesting, from emails from people who have seen the film (and like it) to a spirited discussion initiated by a fellow who, having seen the short trailer (and only the short trailer), wrote a couple of long emails about how the filmmakers had essentially gotten it all wrong, although bully for the effort. This prompted a civil response from the filmmakers (delivered by an intermediary) to which our fellow responded yet again, with the same basic message. He did mean well, but his response demonstrated just how contentious food issues can be, even for people who more-or-less agree with each other.

The bottom line? This film uses the idea of a low budget (in this case, one derived from food stamp benefits) to explore eating healthy on a small and fixed income. The filmmakers use themselves as guinea pigs and rely on realistic cinema techniques to demonstrate to the viewer how they think through and act upon trying to eat on a restricted budget. They discuss the process with people from the community, lawmakers, and those reliant on food stamps.  Of particular interest to them is how people can eat a healthy diet and remain healthy on such a restricted budget, and they focus on the ugly fact that cheap food is often unhealthy, yet within the budgets of the poor. With this frame they examine school food and the decisions made by school administrators about how to feed children. They are refreshingly free of anger, judgmental attitudes, and smugness throughout the film which is yet another reason that I think it’s an effective teaching tool.

A few of the discussion points that I intend to raise in class after showing this film include:

  • What is a healthy diet? Is their ‘healthy diet’ your ‘healthy diet’?
  • How much do we each spend on food weekly/monthly?
  • How and why is healthy food more expensive than unhealthy food, according to the movie?
  • Do you find that to be the case when you shop?
  • What are the aims of the Food Stamp program?
  • Are families meant to survive on a Food Stamp budget, or are there assumptions built into the calculations that posit other food income as well?
  • Do we as a society, acting through our government, have an ethical responsibility to make sure people can eat? Why or why not?
  • If you were a nutritionist and were advising a diabetic client on Food Stamps what would you suggest he/she eat and why? How would you work out a budget with that client?
  • Do you have the skills to shop and cook as wisely and carefully as Shira and Yoav did?
  • Do you know enough about food and cooking to live on a diet of beans and rice?
  • What kind of knowledge do you need to acquire in order to feel comfortable about planning meals on a small budget?

Obviously, these are just my first thoughts and jottings about how to use the film in teaching. But part of the reason that I think it’s such a valuable film is that I realized that I have NO IDEA what I spend on a weekly or monthly basis for food for my husband and myself. I have a big freezer and tend to plan and buy so that my larder (protein and grains/beans) can feed us for several weeks without shopping; only vegetables and dairy are purchased on a weekly basis (and at a pretty reasonable farmers’ market). My meat is all pastured, as are eggs and dairy, so I know I spend more per pound than most Americans. However, we also eat less meat/dairy than most carnivores so I figure it evens out. And I like rice and beans, and eat that way by preference, while I know that most Americans prefer meat to beans and prepared carbs to simple grains. I do know how to budget, I do know how to cook and I never waste food (because I am really, really cheap), but I am quite sure that eating on a food stamp budget would be difficult indeed.

The other discussion point – and I’m not yet sure how to frame these questions – is tied to the assumptions and contentions about food choice, knowledge and capacities. I am often gobsmacked by the tendency of food people to insist that their way – and only their way – is the good way to eat. Obviously, I like this movie because the filmmakers don’t do that… but the Listserve response has had a wee tinge of that sentiment. Food is so personal and intimate, and choice so tied to identity (especially in our capitalistic society) that people are naturally heavily invested in justifying their choices as ‘good better BEST!’ to themselves and others. But seriously, the vehemence that many bring to this issue baffles me. Somehow, I suspect that this film – and the student response to it – will allow us to discuss this difficult issue in the classroom. And I hope by doing so the students are able to begin to glimpse how their biases channel their beliefs about food and nutriture.


Filed under anthropology, economics, film, food policy, food security, Food Studies, nutrition, reviews

New York in June! Save the Date!

Global Gateways and Local Connections:

Cities, Agriculture, and the Future of Food Systems

Join us for the Joint 2012 Annual Meetings & Conference of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), & Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN).

June 20 – 24, 2012

New York University and The New School and – New York City

As increasingly greater portions of the global population shifts towards urban environments, and cities position themselves as crucial hubs not only for food consumption, but also for its production and distribution, it becomes urgent for agriculture to reposition and reaffirm its strategic role in ensuring food security, access to governance, and acceptable livelihoods for all the actors involved. The theme of the conference highlights the need for more equitable and sustainable distribution of power and resources among various stakeholders, including those without a strong voice on the world’s stage, such as the urban and rural poor, farmers, and migrants. In line with the call for sustainable development and green economies at the core of the Rio +20 United Nations gathering, the conference offers an opportunity for scholars, students, activists, farmers, practitioners, and concerned citizens to come together and explore innovative solutions and alternative models for creative, culturally viable, and environmentally sound integration of urban and rural food systems.

New York University and The New School have been at the forefront of the research, methodologies, and pedagogies that have shaped Food Studies, and have explored creative venues of public engagement to establish vital connections and a constructive dialogue between academia, the local communities, and the larger debates at the national and global level. We welcome not only scholarly sessions, but also encourage activists, government staff, farmers, and practitioners in food and agricultural systems to participate. Organizations, businesses, agencies, and publishers may also participate as exhibitors.

The conference website will be available soon, with more information, registration, and online submission of abstracts.

Organizer and Local Arrangements:

Jennifer Berg, New York University, jennifer.berg@nyu.edu

Fabio Parasecoli, The New School, parasecf@newschool.edu

Although our organizations encourage a broad spectrum of topics at our conferences, we especially encourage papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops that speak directly to the theme. We welcome not only academic sessions, but also strongly encourage activists, government staff, and those with practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate. We welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

Art, Media, & Literary Analyses

Innovation & Development

Culture & Cultural Geography

Environment & Climate Change

Agroecology & Conservation

Ethics & Philosophy

Food Safety & Risk

Gender & Ethnicity



Inequality, Access, Security & Justice

Indigenous Knowledge, Cultural Heritage and Local Traditions

Local Food Systems


Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts

Trade and Legal Issues

Research Methods, Practices & Issues

Social Action & Social Movements


Science & Technologies

Tours (tentative)

New York City has historically been the crucible for culinary traditions all over the world, social and political experimentation, innovative practices and an extremely vibrant restaurant scene. Our tentative plans include the following half- and full -day tours:

# 7 train– Ride the iconic #7 train through Queens and experience the aromas and tastes of the most ethnically diverse county in the United States (full day)

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture– Take an air conditioned bus to Westchester County for a full day private guided tour of the 80 acre farm and enjoy a Dan Barber created lunch (full day)

Coney Island and Brighton Beach– Ride the elevated BMT subway to Brighton Beach for a guided walking tour of “Little Odessa”, NYC’s largest Russian community.  Enjoy breakfast picnic on the beach and then a walk along the boardwalk to Coney Island for rides, amusements and Nathan’s Hot Dogs (full day)

Rediscovering Red Hook – Enjoy  a walking tour of Added Value, New York’s original “asphalt garden”  and then discussion and talk with founder, Ian Marvey.  We’ll have a shopping spree at the 52,000 square foot Fairway market and picnic on the docks overlooking the Statue of Liberty.  Return to Manhattan in the Water Taxi (full day)

East New York Farms and Community Gardens Take the subway out to the economically-challenged community of East New York, Brooklyn and visit the non-profit farm and neighboring community gardens ( half day afternoon)

Chocolate Tour– Join a chocolate historian on a subway ride out to Brooklyn to experience 3 varying chocolate producers: Mast brothers, Jo Mart and Tumbador- Chocolate tastings and demos (full day)

Williamsburg Hipster– This is not the Williamsburg your grandparents knew- Ride the short L train to Bedford Avenue and explore artisanal food production and retail marketing including cheese, chocolate, pickles and charcuterie (half day- afternoon)

Roof Top Farms– travel via subway to two significant urban farms:  Eagle Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City, Queens- lunch and talk at Roberta’s (full day)

Brooklyn Composting– Join our very own ASFS President, and Master Composter Annie Hauck-Lawson for half day foray into urban composting (half day).

Central Park Foraging– Rise early for a morning forage through Central park and learn about the edible flora and fauna secretly tucked within Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s 843 acre masterpiece (half day morning)

New York Public Library– Enjoy a private guided tour with Rebecca Federman, director of the expansive Culinary Collection at the New York Public Library’s main research branch (half day- afternoon)

Metropolitan Museum of Art– Join an art historian for a half day tour of food-centered work in the world-renowned metropolitan Museum (half day afternoon)

Fermenting and Distilling in Brooklyn – Enjoy a Brooklyn day with liquid on your mind.  Visit several beer, wine, and spirits’ producers for talks, tastings and demos (full day)

Hunts Point Terminal Market– Ride a private bus to Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx , the world’s largest wholesale market for a private tour through the 60 acre complex (half day)

Queens Farm Museum– Ride an air conditioned bus to the 47 acre non-profit Queens Farm Museum , the longest continuously farmed land in New York State (half day)

Governor’s Island – Take the ferry to a 172 acre island in the middle of New York Harbor between Manhattan and Brooklyn – Bicycle tour through the island, stopping at historical markers along the way –picnic lunch included (pending weekday availability – full day)

Taco Crawl in Sunset Park, Brooklyn– Take the subway to Sunset Park, New York- home to thousands of immigrants from Puebla, Mexico. Visit bodegas, tortillerias, and taco stands (half day)

posted by David Beriss

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Christine Wilson Student Award 2011

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
2011 Christine Wilson Student Paper Award

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) is pleased to announce the 2011 Christine Wilson Award competition.

Each year we recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate research papers in the memory of Christine Wilson- a pioneer in the field of nutritional anthropology, innovator in ethnographic research methodology and inspirational guide to members of the society.

We request the submission of original, single-authored research papers that have as their primary focus an anthropological approach to the study of nutrition, foods, foodways, food security, hunger or similar topics. We will also accept multi-authored papers if the submission is by the first author and the other authors are also students. Papers that present new empirical research designs, evaluate community nutrition intervention programs or propose new conceptual frameworks are especially welcome. (Literature reviews and co-authored papers are not eligible).

Eligibility is restricted to students (undergraduate or graduate) enrolled in the 2011-2012 academic year.  If not a current member of SAFN, applicants are requested to apply for membership along with their submission.   Winners and runners-up in two categories (undergraduate and graduate) will be recognized and presented with an award at the 2011 AAA meeting in Montreal, PQ Canada.

The text of papers should be no longer than 20-25 pages, double-spaced. Please delete identifying information and submit as attachment along with the CWA cover sheet to:

Michael R. McDonald, Ph.D.
Chair, CWA Awards Committee
Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

Email to: mmcdonal@fgcu.edu.

Deadline: October 14, 2011

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Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky

Another day, another opportunity to travel, present your research, meet interesting people…and have a few great meals with them.  This one is in Montana, a dramatically beautiful state.   More importantly, the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is a sponsor of this event.  Which is very nearly a guarantee of a good time!  Seriously: I have been to a few of these conferences and highly recommend them.  It is interdisciplinary, so you get to hear from and meet all sorts of people engaged in food studies, not just anthropologists.  It is big enough to be quite diverse, but small enough to facilitate great networking.  And there usually are some great opportunities to eat.  I have copied the main call for papers below.  Note that the deadline for submissions is coming up very soon: February 11, 2011. Do not hesitate, get your ideas together quickly.  Follow the links below for more information.

Announcing the Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the

Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS),

Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS),

& Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

June 9 – 12, 2011

University of Montana – Missoula

Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky

The conference theme acknowledges the site for the meetings in Montana, which is known as Big Sky Country because of its expansive landscapes dotted with working farms, ranches, forests, and wild areas.  The Big Sky also encompasses the broader global context linking food and agricultural systems around the world.  In many ways, Montana shares characteristics with rural areas elsewhere.  In their struggle for sustainable livelihoods and food security, farmers, ranchers, and their communities are challenged by concentration of economic power and the vagaries of global markets.   Yet, like in many other areas, Montanans are cultivating place-based innovations in food, farming and conservation.  Thus, on the one hand, the industrialization, concentration, and globalization of the dominant food system profoundly influence how food is produced, processed, and consumed.  On the other hand, there are also spaces of resistance and creativity in which people attempt to govern and shape their relationships with food and agricultural systems.

Acknowledging these strategies for transformation, the 2011 theme highlights people, partnerships and policies.  At the core of efforts to grow innovative food and agriculture systems are talented and dedicated individuals.  Making effective collective action possible, partnerships honor connections among people and organizations across public and private sectors.  Lastly, attention to policies signals the broader context of government, trade, and legal agreements that shape local, regional, national, and global food and agricultural politics and practices.   Join us under the Big Sky to explore the possibilities and strategies for change.

Although our organizations encourage a broad spectrum of topics at our conferences, we especially encourage papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops that speak directly to the theme.  We welcome not only academic sessions, but also strongly encourage activists, government staff, and those with practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate.   We welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Change & Development
  • Culture & Cultural Geography
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Food Safety & Risk
  • Gender & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Inequality, Access, Security & Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Local Food Systems
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Research Methods, Practices & Issues
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability
  • Science & Technologies

Click here for the main conference web site and here for abstract submission information.

Posted by David Beriss

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Food Anthropology in Montreal!

Call for Papers: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition 

Your opportunity to present at the 110th American Anthropological Association  annual meeting in Montréal, November 16-20, 2010

The theme of this year’s meeting is ”Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies”. The executive committee asks us to reflect on these concepts and process of how differences are made, marked, removed, maintained and altered. The membership of SAFN is well-positioned to take a leading role in addressing this theme, given both the universality and malleability of food beliefs, nutritional practices, and resultant health and disease. As a truly interdisciplinary group of scholars within anthropology, the SAFN membership is in a unique position to demonstrate how anthropology’s holistic perspective remains a powerful tool for both understanding and tackling the global issue of “Traces, Tidemarks, and Legacies”. For more information about the national meeting, including elaboration of the theme and important dates, see the AAA meetings web site.

There are three types of sessions for papers and posters: (1) Invited, (2) Volunteered, and (3) AAA Public Policy Forums. While many authors have historically preferred the paper format, the major advantage of presenting a poster over a paper is that instead of 15 minutes of fame, you get an hour and half, during which time you can discuss and debate your findings and ideas.

If you are interested in having an Invited session, please send your proposals to Sera Young (sly3@cornell.edu) no later than March 13; earlier is better. You must also submit your proposed session on the AAA meeting website by then. Session proposals should include a session abstract (250 words) and the names and details (institution, title) of all co-authors. Invited sessions are generally cutting-edge, directly related to the meeting theme, or cross sub-disciplines, i.e. they have broader appeal. One way to increase your and our presence at the meetings is to have a co-sponsored invited session between SAFN and another sub-discipline.  Invited time is shared with the other sub-discipline and the session is double-indexed. Volunteered sessions are comprised of individually submitted papers or posters that are put together based on some common theme as well as sessions proposed as invited that were not selected as such. These must be submitted via the AAA website by April 15. AAA Public Policy Forums are reviewed by the AAA Committee on Public Policy, the deadline for those is March 15. If you’d like to discuss ideas for sessions and/or papers, feel free to contact the 2011 Program Chair, Sera Young (sly3@cornell.edu, 607-351-0172).

AAA is increasingly open to innovative presentation styles, including round table discussions, meet the author, panel discussions and poster sessions. All of these are submitted through the AAA registration website.
We look forward to seeing the fruits of your fascinating research!

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Filed under AAA 2011 Montreal, Announcements, anthropology, Call for Papers, SAFN Member Research