Anthropologists and ActionAid USA

ActionAid USA is interested in collaborating with anthropologists conducting research on land, agriculture, food, and the environment whose work is useful in making an impact on public policy. We are an affiliate of ActionAid International, a federation headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, working in 45 countries.

From our Washington DC office we advocate for policies that support agro-ecological methods and small-scale food producers around the World, and fight against policies which permit or encourage land and resource grabs.  We are working to stop biofuels mandates which have a negative impact on sustainable land-use and the right to food, as well as for funding for climate justice.

As an anthropologist myself, I am well aware that much anthropological and ethnographic research has policy implications but does not reach does the right audiences, even though there is a need for both local case studies and big picture  analysis in public policy making.   Recently, ActionAid USA has collaborated effectively on issues of biofuelsfood and land with scholars such as Timothy A. Wise at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University.

We produced versions of academic research for use in advocacy with policymakers in Congress, the Obama administration, the World Bank and the UN Committee on World Food Security. If you are conducting research on related issues, or have case studies you think would be useful in our policy advocacy, we would love to hear from you. Please contact

Public Political Ecology Lab: Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples

The Public Political Ecology Lab now hosts blogs and photo-essays that contribute to a special series on the political ecology of extractive industries as they intersect with indigenous communities. Whether battles are taking place over oil and gas in Bolivia, Ecuador, or Canada, indigenous peoples are often at the forefront in efforts to “keep the oil in the ground” as a strategy to mitigate the ecological and social impacts of fossil fuel extraction. This is particularly relevant in the context of climate change. During the first 2 weeks of December 2014, governments, civil society and industry convened in Lima Peru to chart a way forward on climate change. It is also the first time the Conference of the Parties (COP) climate meeting has taken place in an Amazon country. Questions of indigenous rights and oil extraction were raised and discussed within and outside the COP. The work of political ecologists such as the ones contributing to this series can clarify some of the complex issues regarding extractive industries and indigenous peoples.

Please see special focus on The Political Ecology of Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples here and at the link below.

SANA 2015 Conference Call for Track Proposals: Inequality, Equality, and Difference

EXTENDED DEADLINE APPROACHING – Proposals due December 20, 2014

The 2015 conference of the Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA) will take place April 16-18 at John Jay College of the City University of New York with the theme “Inequality, Equality, Difference” (see below). The conference will be organized around several tracks, each comprising two days of sustained discussion and analysis around issues of key importance to North American society. We are now seeking proposals from individuals and groups to lead and develop tracks, which should relate to the overall conference theme.

Track Editors will each design two days of programming that creates opportunities for 15-45 conference participants. They will work closely with SANA leadership, as they recruit some submissions based in their own networks and reserve slots for submissions solicited through a forthcoming Call for Papers. We encourage themes that are broad enough to speak to an array of thinkers but specific enough to foster deep and coherent inquiry. In addition to standard paper panels, track organizers are invited to explore alternative formats for sessions such as: roundtables; response panels to previously-circulated papers; interlocutor sessions with informants or activists; keynote talks; keyword sessions; and field trips. Track editors may want to encourage pre-conference interactions (e.g., circulated papers, thoughts, shared documents, postings, etc.) so as to make conference interactions as substantive and productive as possible. The conference, perhaps best conceived as a kind of mini-school, is cumulative. It works best when participants make connections between sessions and thematic discussions build over the course of the two-day engagement. Each track should conclude with a meeting to identify emerging themes, keywords and observations that can be shared with all conference participants at the closing session.
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CfP Praxis and Critique: Liberation, Pedagogy, and the University

November 12-15, 2015
Salisbury University (Salisbury, Maryland)

In recent years, the problems and contradictions intrinsic to capitalist
society have resulted in a number of manifest, seemingly permanent, crises.
Many researchers, academics, and activists have seized on the urgency of
recent coalescing crises—from environmental degradation to economic
inequality, political instability to social unravelling, and beyond—in an
attempt to ameliorate and analyze the consequences of these dilapidated
social relations. The work of Herbert Marcuse aims to radically re-envision
social relations via critical theory as a way to formulate a praxis of
liberation. However, if we live in a society, as Marcuse puts it, “without
negation,” how shall this critical rationality be cultivated?
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food and agricultural law course work and advanced law degree in agricultural & food law

Note from Susan A. Schneider:

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law<> at the University of Arkansas School of Law now has both a face-to-face program in Arkansas and a distance track that offers our full curriculum remotely. While our LL.M. candidates get first priority in terms of course enrollment, we now also allow non-degree students to take our courses. JD students, lawyers, and graduate students in related disciplines are all welcome to apply to take one or more of our classes. Continue reading

2015 SEA conference CfP: abstract submission deadline Dec. 15th

Lexington, Kentucky
April 9th – 11th, 2015
Keynote Speaker: Professor Barbara Mills, University of Arizona
Keynote Lecture Title: “Migration, Skill, and the Transformation of Social Networks in the Late Prehispanic Southwest”


We seek papers that explore different historical and spatial “sites” where technologies, economies and social-cultural life intersect in powerful ways. Potential themes for exploration include: the linkages between the historical development of technologies, economic systems, and social-cultural change; the role of technology in exchange and trade; livelihoods and technology; technological innovations, choices, and political economic strategies; information technology and economic development; ontological questions of economic life in the technological age, and methodological issues in the study of technologies and economies. The topic is inherently interdisciplinary, demanding diversity in temporal scale, analytical unit and theoretical orientation, and thus we welcome submissions from socio-cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, geographers, sociologists, historians, and applied and practicing social scientists.

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JAFSCD CfP: Workers in the Food System from Farm to Table

The submission deadline is currently open. We may set a deadline in the forthcoming months if enough interest is generated to publish a full issue on the topic. Please let me know if you are aware of cutting-edge labor relations work being done that might inform public policy and practice in food systems.

-Duncan Hilchey

Editor in chief, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

online at

Submission Deadline: in 2015 (specific date to be determined)
From migrant laborers and apprentices in our fields, to cutters in meatpacking plants and line workers in restaurants and food service, the world’s food system is balanced on the backs of a oft-neglected group of people. The food system may be the largest employer in the world, yet there is a dearth of research on the subject of labor in the food system – especially research that informs practical solutions. This might include the identification and testing of effective empowerment strategies, best practices, win-win relationships, and changed power dynamics.

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) welcomes submission of papers that build on descriptions of the scale and scope of the labor problems (e.g., working conditions and well-being), but go beyond this to more fully inform our understanding of food systems labor solutions. Examples of papers include:
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CfP: SIEF 2015 12th Congress

SIEF in Zagreb, Croatia
21-25 June 2015

Olive futures: ethnographies of a delicious kind
Convenors: Bilge Firat (Istanbul Technical University)
James Verinis (Salve Regina University)
Long Abstract

From the perspectives of agricultural economic regimes as well as human
diet, cultural fantasies, and political struggles, olive fruit and its
derivatives in liquid and solid forms have always constituted a significant
ecological niche. With the opening up of alternative markets such as in the
USA, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Russia and China in recent years, olive
fruit and its oil experienced an upsurge in trade in recent years and are
once again at the epicenter of world cultural economy, affecting the lives
of olive and olive oil producing, consuming, and trading countries,
regions, and their peoples alike. Behind abstracted figures and statistics
on the production, exchange and consumption of olive fruit and its cosmetic
as well as culinary products, however, lie a whole other world of sweat and
blood of people whose lives have been touched vis-?-vis the domestication
of the olive tree throughout recent millennia. This panel seeks to bring
together scholars and students of the cultivation, exchange and consumption
of olive tree products from around the world, especially from the countries
bordering the Mediterranean Sea. We invite scholars and students of olive
cultures to share their ethnographic knowledge of the cross-border
production and circulations of olive cultures and commodities, probing the
limits of regional cooperation and conflict in olive regions. Ethnographic
contributions that are inspired by different theoretical and conceptual
approaches such as the world-system theory, political ecology, political
economy, and cultural history and heritage studies and that experiment with
a variety of data collecting techniques ranging from participant
observation to policy analysis are particularly welcome.

Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA): Halperin Memorial Fund

Applications to the Halperin Memorial Fund for 2015 are due by December 15, 2014. Submit to

Questions: Martha Rees or Judith Marti (email above)

See Webpage for more information

NY Times article: “Working the Land and the Data”

Technology section, Nov.30, 2014