AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
Program Number: 2-0215
Type: Invited Session
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Archaeology Division
General Anthropology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): MICHELLE LELIEVRE (University of Chicago), MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago) 
8:00 AM: MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago), MICHELLE LELIEVRE (University of Chicago) -- Mediating Subjects: Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mobility  
8:15 AM: SANDRA ROZENTAL -- Mobilizing the Monolith  
8:30 AM: SWARGAJYOTI GOHAIN -- Representing Mobility: Stories and Histories From India's North Eastern Borderlands  
8:45 AM: M NELL QUEST (Rutgers University) -- Bodying Forth: Sensory Experiences of Walking Marseille's Flux  
9:00 AM: IAN KALMAN -- Lacrosse and the Border: The 'Little Brother of War' Meets the 'Little Sister of Sovereignty'  
9:15 AM: LEON GRIMARD (Université de Montréal) -- European Romani and Mobility: Binding Economics to the Social Field  
10:00 AM: CHRISTINE REISER (Brown University) -- Communities in Movement: Archaeological Perspectives on Rootedness, Movement, and Social Ties  
10:15 AM: NICOLE COUTURE, DEBORAH BLOM (University of Vermont), MARIA BRUNO (Washington University in St. Louis) -- Moving Objects and Fluid Subjects: on the Circulation of Bodies, Things, and Ideas in Tiwanaku Society  
10:30 AM: KARI JONES, BURCU TUNG -- From Earthen Mounds to Painted Walls: The Implications of Mobility in the Archaeological Imagination  
10:45 AM: AUBREY CANNON -- Mobility in Sedentary Village Societies: Liberating Individuals and Making Regional Traditions  
11:00 AM: LAURA POPOVA -- Goosefoot, Watermelon, and Tea: Pastoral Plant Use in Eurasia  
11:15 AM: DISCUSSANT: CLAUDIA CHANG (Sweet Briar College)  
11:30 AM: DISCUSSANT: ADAM SMITH (University of Chicago)  
11:45 AM: End of Session
Abstract: The proposed session accepts the American Anthropological Association’s challenge to “to think about what happens when movement is the organizing trope of our questions, methodologies, analyses and accounts” by opening a dialogue between socio-cultural anthropology and archaeology that explores the relationship between mobility and the constitution of political subjectivity. Mobility has been an enduring, but often overshadowed and undertheorized, element in ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological research. In recent years there has been a critical turn in each of these fields as scholars have expanded their focus on mobility to include, for example, the study of diasporas and migrant workers in the post-colonial/late capitalist world; the displacement of ethnic populations by state, colonial, and imperial authorities; and the diverse patterns of residential mobility as practiced within ancient societies. These studies have successfully challenged the strict mobile/sedentary divide. Yet, in doing so, they have exposed a deep underlying assumption - namely, the determinative (although not uni-directional) relationship between the movements of subjects and the nature of their (socio-)political organization.

Our session aims to recast this assumption such that the relationship between how subjects move and how they constitute their (socio-)political worlds becomes the object of study. In exploring this relationship we ask both epistemological and also theoretical questions: What are the implications for a ‘theory’ of mobility given anthropology’s diverse datasets (e.g. direct observations of movements, analysis of archival accounts of movements and the interpretation of isotopic signatures to infer movements)? How do our ontological categories of mobility shape interpretation? Can we consider mobility to exist a priori? Or are subjects’ abilities and/or motivations to move always already constituted within their (socio-)political worlds? How do the contemporary transnational flows of people and migratory regimes inform archaeological models of sovereignty? How can historically situated studies of ancient mobile practices inform hierarchies of mobility and the global tensions between the mobile and the localized?

The papers collected in this session each use mobility as a prism through which to view the complexities of (socio-)political life. As such, these papers offer diverse regional, methodological and epistemological perspectives on mobility. Each contributes new ideas to theories of the body, materiality, subjectivity, emplacement, sovereignty, and authority. From the reproduction of nomadic residential patterns in sedentary Romani communities, to an analysis of the “kinesthetic determination” of Haudenosaunee lacrosse and the circulation of bodies (both living and dead) in Tiwanaku, the proposed session seeks to benefit from our multiple ways of knowing subjects and to bring the often too fractious sub-disciplines of anthropology into productive dialogue.


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