Ethnographies of the Extreme

Organizers: Courtney Cecale, PhD Candidate (UCLA) & Taylor R. Genovese, PhD Student (Arizona State University)

Topic: Current interdisciplinary research—either theoretical or in practice—constituting “extreme anthropologies,” broadly defined, that are working towards resisting, adapting, and/or building resiliency against dominant and oppressive power structures.

Discussant: TBA

Panel Abstract:
This panel critically engages with the concept of “extreme anthropologies” (Kuldova 2017) in terms of field sites, method(ologies), and theories. More specifically, panelists explore the potential for the category of the extreme to clarify, subvert, and even dismantle oppressive power structures, and challenge what it means to be extreme, in extreme times.

Extreme anthropologies can take the form of engagements with hyperobjects (Morton 2013)—entities that are temporally, spatially, or materially out of human scale, such as conceptualizations of nuclear deterrence, climate change, or outer space(s). Extreme can also take the form of navigating everyday life within our neoliberal world of bureaucracy (Graeber 2015; Gupta 2012) as well as ways in which we resist that world through collective social and political organization by creating “alternative social projects” and “living otherwise” (Povinelli 2011) or carving out “exilic spaces” at the edges of capitalism (Grubačić and O’Hearn 2016).

Finally, extreme anthropologies can take the form of method(ologies), including experimental and/or multimodal ethnographic methods and presentation (Collins et al. 2017; Elliott and Culhane 2017). We are interested in work examining the broad topics below through historical, social, political, cultural, ecological, material, performative, metaphysical, spiritual, and other transdisciplinary approaches:

  • “Extreme” anthropologies, field sites, method(ologies), and theories
  • Capitalism, colonization, and resistance to neoliberal globalization
  • Extremities of everyday life, navigating bureaucracy, institutional development
  • Radical and anarchistic method(ologies) and other forms of direct action
  • Socio/technoscientific radical imaginaries, including science fiction
  • Utopian visions and imaginaries of human futures
  • Exilic spaces
  • Queer and radical diffusions
  • Anthropology and sociology of outer space(s)
  • Anthropology of consciousness and other-worldly dimensionalities

The goal of this panel is to collaborate on a special issue about extreme anthropologies.

To submit: Please email a 250 word abstract to both session organizers by April 1, 2018. Please include the title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation, and email. For conference requirements, please see “Requirements for Section Invited and Volunteered Submissions” here: Decisions about acceptance of abstracts for this panel will be emailed by April 5, 2018. Registration and panel proposals are due by April 16, 2018 at 3:00pm EDT.

Courtney Cecale:
Taylor R. Genovese: