call for papers (english)- Dimona 2018


Call for Papers for the 46th Annual Conference of the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA)

Dimona – May 23-24, 2018



The movements of people, objects and ideas in space and time, up and down the social ladder, horizontally and vertically, within borders and beyond, in practice and imagination, are always saturated with social meanings and power relations (Salazar 2010). Early on, anthropology recognized the centrality of mobility in human experience (for example in the Kula or the extensive study of nomadic groups). However research conducted through the functionalist-structuralist theoretical lens focused on mobility within the social, cultural and political boundaries recognized by members of the societies studied and/or by their colonial masters, who considered the natives to be frozen in time and space.

A major characteristic of social life in the last two centuries, perhaps the most important and most prominent one, is the ever-increasing stream of people, things, and ideas (Wolf, 1982, Appadurai 1996, Mintz 1998) that overwhelm or ignore social and political constraints and move in all directions, be it by car, ship, airplane, radio, television, or the Internet.  Immigrants and refugees, merchants and tourists, goods, human organs, art products, along with technological and ideological inventions are moving across the planet at an ever increasing pace, and in ways that sometimes seem chaotic and random.  Other prominent features of this period are the increasing flexibility of social systems and the collapse of certain regimes, phenomena that generate social mobility in different directions.

The concept of “mobilities” attempts to reckon theoretically with these various phenomena, of which they have in common a kinetic component as well as the blurring of social and geo-physical boundaries. This concept reflects an exciting attempt to free our discipline from particular theoretical orientations that are outdated while preserving the centrality of the act of bestowing meaning to human action.

This year’s conference will therefore focus on the idea of “mobility”: the theoretical framework that strives to organize the social and cultural meanings granted to diverse modes of the movement of people, things, and ideas, as well as the methodological tools used to expose and document them. Migration and travel, driving, riding, flying and swimming, exporting, importing and smuggling goods and ideas, material or virtual, practical or imaginary, and any other human action that has a dimension of movement, are all topics we wish to discuss at the conference. We will also explore new modes of global performances of power, and the barriers that affect the mobility of members of certain social groups.

Dimona is an ideal destination for holding an anthropology conference that deals with mobilities: A “development town” that was established in the far reaches of the periphery by the leaders of a modern immigrant state in order to channel distinct streams of people, things and ideas (one of the definitions proposed by the late Michael Feige for the Negev), surrounded by military bases and Bedouin villages that are not recognized by the state.  As such, Dimona is sometimes perceived as an example of real and ideological immobility, but Dimona is also a space for encounters between people, things and ideas, a home from which they leave and to which they return, and a regional and global center of movement for various social groups and cultural entities in the city.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Professor John Jackson, a faculty member in the Departments of Anthropology, Communication, and African Studies, and Dean of the School of Policy and Social Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.  His research deals with multinationalism, globalization, immigration, critical theory of race, and visual anthropology.  Prof. Jackson conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Hebrew African community in Dimona (Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, Harvard University Press, 2013).

*The conference will be concurrently with the most important African Hebrew Israelite holiday: “New World Passover”.  As part of the conference, attendees can visit the “peace village” and participate in the festival.

Abstracts in English should be sent to:Submission closes January 31, 2018

For additional information and submissions please visit the Israeli Anthropological Association’s website –

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