Highlights of American Anthropological Assoc. meeting


Also press opportunities with authors

Some 5,000 anthropologists from around the world will gather at the Atlanta Hilton on December 15 – 19, 2004 for the American Anthropological Association's 103rd annual meeting. The conference theme is Magic, Science and Religion but included are multiple presentations on violence, aspects of health care including pharmaceuticals, sessions on food research and panels on Islam and the Middle East. There are also talks on urban affairs, immigration, parenting, old age and much more.

Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberto Menchu will speak on Saturday and a series of authors will visit the Press Room to discuss their new books. They write about great apes and children, untold facts about twins and the Holocaust, the fish market at the center of the world, and takes on Fat around the globe. Names and times will be posted in the Press Room.

The American Anthropological Association is the world's largest organization of anthropologists, representing all specialties within the profession from cultural, physical/biological, archeology, linguistics and applied anthropology.

Below is a sampling of sessions with potential media interest. Full programs with speakers and room assignments as well as abstracts of each session will be available in the Press Room.


Re-imagining the "Urban": San Francisco is examined as a case study of how traditional concepts of urban versus suburban have changed. (Noon–1.45 p.m.).

Anthropological Approaches to Central Asia and the Middle East: Scholars working on both sides of the Atlantic discuss new approaches to replace notions of tribe, state, gender.( Noon–3.45)

Modern Magic in Melanesia and Beyond: Panelists will scrutinize the paradoxical proliferations of magical forms in a modernized world. (2–3.45 p.m.)

Emergent Representations: Violence, Ethnography and the Everyday: A panel discusses the challenges of violence to everyday lives. (2–5.45 p.m.)

Food, Ritual and Home: Food rituals around the world with festive Mexican feasts, African presentations of tea and coffee, American family dinners, church teas. (4-5.45 p.m.)

Parenting in Modern Times: These papers are part of a research effort at Berkeley and Emory Sloan Foundation Centers studying working families in the U.S. (6-7.30 p.m.)

Aging and Projects of Modernity: How aging in Japan, China and India is changing to become closer to how people imagine it in the "West". (6-7.45 p.m)

Cure Claims and Clinical Trials: Global Pharmaceuticals in the 21st Century : Examination of current cure claims in countries throughout the world. (6–7.45 p.m.)

New Writing Systems: Indigenous peoples and minority groups are developing new writing systems for their languages. (Wednesday 6-7.45 p.m.)


Islam, Health and the Body: Science and Religion in the Modern Muslim World: With advances in science and technology, traditional Islamic beliefs and practices are challenged. Islamic notions are also compromised when Muslims move to non-Muslim countries. Differences between Sunni and Shi'a responses. (8-11.45 a.m.).

Witnessing Witchcraft: The ethics of studying witchcraft. How should anthropologists respond when people are accused of witchcraft, illegal but deeply believed by the community? With Nancy Scheper-Hughes. (8-11.45.a.m.)

Exploring the Intersection of Race, Human Variation and Health. Assumptions and misconceptions of what is meant by "race" underlie most health research. This session asks "how are race and human variation related to health?" (10.15-Noon)

Anthropology Beyond Bagdad: A Roundtable Discussion. (1.45-3.30 p.m.)

The Anthropology of Crisis in the Middle East: Presenters discuss the dangers they personally encounter in the field – violence, terror, illegality and ethical dilemnas. (4–5.45 p.m.)

Fast Food – Slow Food: Anthropologists have a history of conducting work on food and food systems. Here they discuss fast food and slow food as two visions of the future. (4–5.45 p.m.)

Do That Voodoo You Do So Well: In their various forms, voodoo offers expressive performance under repressive conditions. They fulfill mystical contracts, salute sacred times and places and pay tribute to the souls of the recently dead and to ancestors. (4-5.45 p.m.)


Brown v.Board at 50: Race, Science and the New Segregation: 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Half a century later, a new segregation has taken root, and is growing. It stems from recent immigration. (8– 9.45 a.m.)

Women and Work: new ways to examine and discuss women. (8-11.45 a.m.)

Violence in Contemporary Japan. Discussions about verbal abuse, harrassment, family based eldercare, violence against homeless people and violence on trains. (8-11.45 a.m.)

Sahrawi and Afghan Refugee Youth and Prolonged Forced Migration: four papers on research of older children and youth, a population that has been largely ignored. (10.15-Noon)

Offshoring White-Collar and Professional Work: How the shift of jobs overseas affects the lives, languages and perspectives of workers from America and India. (10.15-Noon)

Health Issues Among Latinos in the US: this panel addresses cultural diversity and health disparities. (10.15-Noon)

What's All the Fuss About Same-Sex Marriage? A roundtable discussion asks what are the myths about marriage, family and civilization that fueled the attack. (1.45-3.30 p.m.)

New Perspectives in Biocultural Studies of Health: Biological anthropologists discuss recent field research on health in different parts of the world, from pre-birth, infancy to old age(4-5.45p.m)


Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling: Asia and Latin America (8-9.45a.m.)

Service Learning and Anthropology - Case Studies: Community service projects are recommended to help students understand the relevance of academic learning. (8-9.45)

Restaurants. Current research on restaurants which have often been accused of the homogenization of culture on a global scale. (8-11.45 a.m.)

Anthropologies of Cancer: A dialogue about cancer as an anthropological object - risk and culture, health disparities marked by ethnicity; the role of the state, etc. (10.15-Noon)

Urban Violence in a Global Perspective: Trying to understand the roots of current urban militancy and their consequences. (10.15-Noon)

Where Do We Go from Here: Toward a More Public Anthropology: Panelists include Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberto Menchu and Pulitzer Prize author Jared Diamond. (1.45-5.30)

Cultures of Chemistry: Magic, Science and Religion in the Globalization of Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals are promoted as miracles, magic in the form of science. (1.45-3.30 p.m.)

The U.S.-Mexican Border: uses and abuses of the borderlands. Presentations include the impact of homeland security policies in everyday lives of border residents; another on murders of working class women. (1.45-3.30 p.m.).

Building Mesoamerica: The origins of monumental architecture: This session brings together archeologists who study "first generation"monuments. (4-5.45 p.m.)


Pre-registration: reporters are asked to submit interest in advance by emailing [email protected] with name and affiliation by November 9, if possible.

Members of the media must sign in and pick up their pass.

Hours: The Press Room will be open Wednesday Nov. 17 from Noon - 6 p.m and 9 - 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Programs and abstracts will be available for credentialed media in the Press Room.

Press Opportunities will be arranged and posted on the Press Room Bulletin Board.

Hotel Phone: 415 771-1400. Ask for Ghita Levine in the Press Room.


Contact: Ghita Levine
703 528-1902, ext. 3039
[email protected]

A series of anthropologist authors will be in the Press Room to talk to the media.

The line-up is as listed below, but times may change so please check with the Press Room in advance.

Thursday 12.30 p.m. Author of The Fish Market at the Center of the World. How globalization has created a "Command Central" of the world's fish …with tales about Maine lobsters, Tokyo sushi and the cell phone.

Friday 1 p.m. Author of From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich. The untold tale of twins, their fate and the bitter role of anthropologists.

Saturday, 10.30 a.m. Authors of Fat, The Anthropology of an Obsession. Surprising tales on what fat means in different cultures.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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