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CFP: Digital Anthropology Workshop, EASA 24-27 August 2010

January 6, 2010

From: […] Heather Horst […]
Sent: 06 January 2010 17:31
To: medianthro […]

Dear All,

We are currently accepting paper proposals for a workshop focused upon “Digital Anthropology” at the European Association of Social Anthropologists Annual Conference. The conference will take place in Maynooth, Ireland between August 24 and 27th, 2010. Further details about the Conference are located here: http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2010/index.htm

Details about the session and submission are listed on the conference workshop website: http://www.nomadit.co.uk/easa/easa2010/panels.php5?PanelID=599

Workshop: Digital Anthropology

Convenors

Daniel Miller (University College, London)
Heather Horst (University of California, Irvine)

Short Abstract

How can anthropology contribute to an understanding of the impact of new Digital Technologies? In particular relating the way they become part of everyday life to their role in the development of new infrastructures within both commerce and the state.

Long Abstract

A key component of many peoples sense of crisis today is the impact of new Digital technologies that seems to constitute a loss of control over the world. For example, one theory of the recent financial crises is that too many financial instruments were set to automatically sell when shares reached a certain level so the crisis was an integral effect of digitisation itself. People’s imagination of the digital seems to bifurcate as something that on the one hand lies at the keyboard at the tip of their fingers but at the same time appears as an abstraction from traditional analogue modes of representation. This bifurcation is often what makes the digital appear to be either the cause or the solution of impending crises. Often this imagination is fed from science fiction and images of humans losing control of the planet to the new technologies themselves.

This is perhaps the moment when anthropology has to choose how to respond to digital technologies. Whether to demonise them as a form of alienation, to romanticise them as open-source utopias or get to grips with the way they speedily become part of everyday life. To resist this bifurcation we need to link the study of ordinary people’s consumption of social networking sites and Google Earth with an appreciation of deeper infrastructural developments such as the digitalisation of financial systems, geographical positioning systems and the impact upon both state and commerce. This is the task to which this workshop will be dedicated.

Heather A. Horst

Digital Media and Learning Research Hub
UC Humanities Research Institute
University of California, Irvine
4000 Humanities Gateway Building
Irvine, CA 92697 USA
[…]

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