AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Program Number: 3-0220
Type: Invited Session
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): KATHRYN FRANKLIN (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SHANNON DAWDY (University of Chicago) 
8:00 AM: KATHRYN FRANKLIN (University of Chicago) -- Political Economy at the Edge of Everywhere: Commerce and Conflict in the Late Medieval Armenian Highlands  
8:15 AM: LAURA JUNKER (University of Illinois-Chicago), LARISSA SMITH -- Conflictive Trade Along the Margins: Value and Power Relations Between Foragers, Tribal Swiddeners, and Lowland Polities in the Prehispanic and Recent Philippines  
8:30 AM: CHAPURUKHA KUSIMBA, RAHUL OKA (University of Notre Dame) -- Predatory Commerce and Economic Disaster: A Cautionary Tale From the 17th Century Indian Ocean Economy  
8:45 AM: MARK HAUSER (Northwestern University) -- Trading Places: Economic Networks in a Caribbean Frontier  
9:00 AM: MAUREEN COSTURA -- Sweet and Bitter: Rum, Wine and Chocolate in an 18th Century French Émigré Colony.  
9:15 AM: FRANCOIS RICHARD (University of Chicago) -- Reluctant Subjects, Unruly Transactions: Contesting Value and Authority in Rural Colonial Senegal  
9:30 AM: SUSAN KUS (Rhodes University), VICTOR RAHARIJAONA -- Trading in Trifles and Tastes: Transformation of Baubles and Small Objects in Central Madagascar Through Time Into the Present  
9:45 AM: DANIEL USNER (Vanderbilt University) -- Confronting the Arts and Crafts Market: Chitimacha Indian Basketmakers and Their Patrons  
10:15 AM: LAURIER TURGEON -- Codfish, Consumption and Colonization: The Creation of the French Atlantic World During the Sixteenth Century  
10:30 AM: HEATHER MCKILLOP (Louisiana State University) -- Unprotected Waters: Ancient Maya Ports, Historic Pirates, and Modern Illegal Trade  
10:45 AM: MICHAEL DIETLER (University of Chicago) -- Prostitutes, Pirates, Mercenaries, and Merchants: Hot, Hotter, and Hottest Trade in Ancient Mediterranean France  
11:00 AM: SHANNON DAWDY (University of Chicago) -- Towards a General Theory of Piracy  
11:45 AM: End of Session
Abstract: How do we investigate the idiosyncratic movements that make up commerce on the fringes of regulated trade, or within the oft-contradictory relationships that constituted past political economies? How do we assess the multiple histories that permeate local economic concepts? This session aims to surpass diagrammatic, bounded, and frictionless models of past trade by discussing the productive role of conflict and discontinuity. Themes include: the underground or dysfunctional relationships between regulation and circulation, the workings of value and power, economic action as a form of aggression or sedition, and historical understandings of order and disorder. Empirically, we intend to explore points of commonality that might exist between, for example, smugglers in the Atlantic World, medieval warlords straddling the Silk Road, and recent post-colonial states. Investigations at entrepots, borders, along highways and sea lanes situate these locales within complex, often contested, economic geographies. We anticipate a lively exchange that engages with the problems and potentials of comparison, bringing together social anthropologists, archaeologists, and ethnohistorians working across broad expanses of space and time. By juxtaposing these disparate perspectives on trade, the aim is to productively complicate and historicize the concept of commercial circulation, the social dynamism of which might be sought in its fractures as well as flows.

Format: 15-minute oral papers followed by open-panel and open-floor discussion period, with organizer and chair moderating (participants will be asked to prepare a brief comment/question on one of the other papers). This is format preferred over traditional ‘sum-up’ discussants. 3.75 hour slot, with coffee break(s).


If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at