Conceptualizing Hope, Practicing Transformations: Making Anthropology Matter

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2017
Washington, D.C.
Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2017
Organizer: Dr. Tal Nitsán, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Hope, the ability to imagine a better future, is necessary for every social transformation. Hope is thus a central and a vital tool for communities and individuals navigating realities of gender inequality, ongoing/ post ethno-national conflicts, structural, prolonged racism, and their intersections.

As anthropologists working in diverse locations and social situations we are well located to explore different realities, discourses and practices and bring them into consideration within our own lived realities. We are also trained to witness and speak to individuals’ diverse level-access to the practice of imagining a better future: Can individuals raised in oppressive environments imagine alternative futures? How do they teach themselves—and others—that they are worthy of a better present? How do they secure support and resources for such struggles? And how do they do so while maintaining personal safety?

In this panel we examine hope not as a noun, to be possessed or given to another, but as a verb, something to be exercised and practiced. Potential papers can address research projects concerning transformative ideologies such as human rights and gift economy, and / or address questions such as: What role does hope play in one’s research, activism, and lived experiences? How is hope experienced, expressed, and practiced by individuals from diverse social locations? How can we maximize the expressions and practice of hope in ours and others’ lives?

If interested, please submit a 250 words abstract to Tal Nitsan ( Thu, March 30th (with acceptance notice by April 2nd).