Tarragona event: Round table “Politics of Publishing”, Thursday, June 13, at 18.30h, Aula Magna

Tarragona event: Round table “Politics of Publishing”, Thursday, June 13, at 18.30h, Aula Magna

i Jun 7th Comments Off by

Dear colleagues,

In times of increased competition for job positions the pressure to publish or perish is building up. Where to publish is often a dilemma: how do scholars, especially those without a permanent academic position, resolve the paradox between the job market increasingly driven by various indexes and a less capitalistic understanding of intellectual expression? These issues appear especially urgent for medical anthropologists who often work at the crossroad between medical sciences, public health and anthropology. The process of academic publishing also includes peer reviewing and editing. For academics with permanent employment these tasks were traditionally considered a part of their workday, but how is this understanding changing now that scholars’ writing activities are contextualized within a market-like logic of publishing?

While media, specifically the Internet, have changed the mechanisms of academic publishing profoundly, a further question is whether knowledge has become more accessible and easier to circulate, and if the impact factor system is a reliable indicator of quality. What does “open access” actually refer to and how does it function? Can restricting access to articles by charging fees really be used as a justification for higher quality? Often, charging significant fees for printed journals is justified by pointing out that the target audience for these publications is very limited. In that case, would this not be the perfect time for anthropology to open up and become more engaged with the public outside the university? Addressing these questions, this round table will touch the current state of academic publishing and its politics as well as the core question of the identity and purpose of anthropology in the contemporary information age.

You are cordially invited to join a discussion on the current politics of publishing in academia, with a particular emphasis on the impact of open access on the publishing practice. The event will take place at the SMA/EASA conference in Tarragona on Thursday, June 13, at 18.30h in Aula Magna.

Confirmed topics and speakers:

- On quality of publications and the contested importance of impact factor:
o Josep M. Comelles (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, editorial board’s member of Collecion de Antropologia Médica, URV Publicacion);
o Lenore Manderson (Monash University, editor of Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness);
o Ekkehard Schroeder (AGEM, editor of Curare).

- On the work and value of writing, peer-reviewing and editing:
o Susanne Ådahl (University of Helsinki, Suomen antropologi special issue editor);
o Sumeet Jain (University of Edinburgh, assistant editor of Anthropology & Medicine).

- On anthropological publications reaching outside the academia:
o Katerina V. Ferkov (University of Nova Gorica, journalist at Delo).

- On open access, its quality and sustainability:
o Ainhoa Montoya (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, editor of Anthropology Matters);
o Eileen Moyer (University of Amsterdam) and Vinh-Kim Nguyen (MSH Paris), OA journal editors (launching);
o Clarence Gravlee (University of Florida, editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly).

We are looking forward to discussing the above issues with you in Tarragona.

Please share this invitation widely.


Tanja Ahlin, University of Amsterdam
Roberta Raffaetà, University of Trento
Anita Hardon, University of Amsterdam

— Organizers and moderators of the round table

Big Picture, Small Things: 4S Annual Meeting Open Session

i Jan 30th Comments Off by

Please submit to the following open session for the 2013 4S Annual Meeting:

Big Picture, Small Things

The “big picture” is becoming an important framework for how scientists look at microbiological processes. Increasingly, in turn, social scientists are studying the growing significance of this perspective. Epigenetics, metagenomics, microbial ecology, systems biology, reproductive toxicology, metabolomics and astrobiology are recent examples of this big picture thinking. This panel will explore how, even while increasingly concerned with the big – potential impact of systems, networks, and connections beyond individual parts – scientific practice continues to rely upon small objects. The so called “non-reductionist” sciences locate big stories in the tiniest parts of cells, genes, and bodily matter. Scientific viewpoints are expanding to considering the circumstances of the big picture, yet are doing so by the very act of reducing diverse social, economic and environmental contexts into very small things. How might we then think about the temporal and spatial scales of science? For instance, what might a single sperm cell tell us about the past, present and future of China’s industrial development? What might the RNA of a single intestinal microbe say about the effect of public health programs in Bangladesh? How can small substances, momentary reductions and fleshy instantiations reveal worlds that cut across time and space? While new science is looking out at the big picture, how does it continue to look in, at the small things?

CFP: Communication, Medicine and Ethics Conference

i Nov 13th Comments Off by

University of Melbourne (Linus Lin, Flickr, cc)

The 11th international interdisciplinary conference on Communication, Medicine and Ethics (COMET) will be held at the University of Melbourne, Australia, July 11-13, 2013.

The Conference will bring together researchers, practitioners and administrators from different disciplines concerned with communication and ethics in the fields of healthcare and the human and social sciences. It is hosted by the Medical Education Unit, Melbourne Medical School; Centre for Health and Society, School of Population Health; and the Language Testing Resource Centre, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne.

Confirmed plenary speakers include Arthur Frank (Department of Sociology, University of Calgary) and Annette Braunack-Mayer (School of Population Health, University of Adelaide). For details regarding submission guidelines, registration, program of events, etc., see http://www.comet2013.unimelb.edu.au/.  Abstracts are due via email by January 31, 2013.

Encounters and engagements: Creating new agendas for medical anthropology

i Nov 11th 3 Comments by


EASA Medical Anthropology Network / AAA Society for Medical Anthropology / Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Joint International Conference in Tarragona, Spain

June 12-14, 2013

The SMA and EASA Medical Anthropology Network are excited to announce a joint international conference to be held in Tarragona, Spain, June 12-14, 2013, under the theme “Encounters and Engagements.”

Thematic focus
Encounters and engagements – it is hard to imagine anthropology of any sort without them, and they are central to the practices and concerns of medical anthropology in particular. While ‘encounters’ suggests meetings and convergence, the question of when, where and on what terms an encounter takes place may raise issues of conflict, displacement and exclusion.

The consultation of clients and health professionals, patients and healers, has been of central concern to medical anthropologists, yet the domain of medical anthropology extends well beyond the encounters that occur through healing work in health settings. Encounters may involve the senses, feelings and emotions – desires, disappointments, pleasure and suffering  – or they may be dispassionate, cold and clinical. Encounters can also involve quasi- or non-human agents – microbes, spirits, pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, experiments, governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, weapons and words (amongst many others). They may be real, virtual or imagined, active or passive. And they may engender change of all sorts, leading to new identities, forms and trajectories.

By ‘engagements’, we recall the rich history of medical anthropologists’ engagement in change processes, in many different roles, in some cases collaborating with biomedical institutions to adapt their programs to social realities, in other cases engaging with recipients by giving voice to their concerns. Through such engagements with diverse actors, medical anthropologists have developed a host of new ways of doing research. It is this positionality of the medical anthropologist, and this mode of interaction with other disciplines and actors, that makes our work unique and important.

A conference like no other…
This Joint International Conference is designed to foster intellectual encounters between engaged/applied and academic medical anthropologists from around the world. The location and format of this pioneering conference will promote the exploration of convergences and divergences between theories, practices, schools and regions across the broader community of medical anthropology scholars and practitioners globally. The conference is being organized by the American Anthropological Association’s Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA); the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ (EASA) Medical Anthropology Network; and the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain.

Submitting abstracts
The theme ‘encounters and engagements’ has been chosen not only for the theoretical focus it offers, but to reflect the organisers’ aspirations about what this unique conference will be like. Hence, rather than soliciting pre-formed panels, or panel abstracts relating to particular topics or themes, the organisers are inviting all contributors to use the broad framework provided by the overarching ‘encounters and engagement’ theme as a basis for developing their 250 word (maximum) conference abstracts for a paper or poster. These should be based on original research and/or analysis – be it theoretical or empirical. The abstracts will form the basis for a more detailed program, which will be designed to generate cumulative and inclusive discussions in ten parallel thematic conference streams, each containing a number of panels.

Abstracts will initially be considered by a Scientific Committee who will allocate them to one of ten emergent streams deriving from the content of the submissions. Each stream will be led by a group of two scholars who will use them to identify and organize a series of five panels in their stream. Stream leaders will write an initial thinkpiece which explains the debates they expect will take place in their stream (based on their review of abstracts), and will work with panelists on how to focus and refine their presentations (with the possibility of resubmitting abstracts, if appropriate). Stream leaders will also draw up plans for how to conduct their panels, aiming for a variety of formats, including (but not limited to) fifteen-minute presentations and posters.

Uploading papers in advance (optional)
In order to encourage and enhance the level of discussion in the streams, participants are encouraged to prepare their work and upload it on the conference website for others to read in advance. We recognise that some people may not be able to do this, hence it is an optional element, but we strongly encourage participants to follow this approach if they possibly can (and for others contributing to a particular stream to read them!). Papers should be no more than 3,000 words in length; presentations at the conference should be summaries and reflections on these papers, not the papers themselves.

Summing up: challenges for the future
At the end of the conference, the stream leaders will write brief endnotes summing up the key points from their stream and their implications for future trajectories and challenges in medical anthropology. This approach, we hope, will bring together people from many different modes of practice, schools and regions in what we hope will be mutually inspiring encounters generating long-lasting engagements. Through the reconnaissance of individuals, subjects and theories, we anticipate the start of new and exciting agendas in the discipline.

Skills-sharing workshops
In addition the conference will host a series of workshops allowing medical anthropologists to share skills and exchange experiences with mixed methods studies, participatory video methods, the use of spatial methods and social media, network analysis, and the analysis of large volumes of qualitative data.

Participation of Senior and Junior Scholars, as well as Practicing Anthropologists
The conference will be preceded by the annual Medical Anthropology Young Scholars network meeting, enabling graduate/postgraduate students to attend both events if they wish.  Bursaries for professional medical anthropologists (and some advanced graduate/postgraduate students) living in low income countries (sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, parts of Oceania, South and South East Asia, and parts of Central Asia) will be available through a generous grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Further information about these and all other aspects of the conference, abstract submission, registration, accommodation, transportation, special opportunities for visual anthropology and other matters will be available on the conference website soon!

The joint conference organising committee of the SMA, EASA Medical Anthropology Network and the URV invite you to join with the spirit of the conference in order to create new agendas for medical anthropology in the historic and convivial city of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.

*CONFERENCE WEBSITE IS NOW LIVE: Click here for abstract submission, registration and payment.

Deadline for abstracts: February 15, 2013
Deadline for notification of acceptance/rejection: March 15, 2013
Program uploaded on conference website: April 15, 2013
Deadline for uploading papers to conference website (optional): May 3, 2013