An Unwell World? Anthropology in a Speculative Mode

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The 2023 ASA conference ‘An Unwell World? Anthropology in a Speculative Mode’ focuses on the world we live in today. Three years into a pandemic, faced with dramatic climate events, new international conflict, profound social inequality, spiralling energy costs, and what has been dubbed a global crisis in mental health, the world appears to be fundamentally unwell. As critical scholars of the social and cultural, anthropologists often adopt a diagnostic and descriptive mode of analysis, identifying problems and tracing their sources and effects. But what possibilities for healing—alternative pathways to repair, restoration, redistribution, resolution—might lie dormant in our analyses? What space can we allow for anthropology as a source of future solutions—visions of wellness, whatever the domain and however defined—in addition to critique?

Five broad thematic areas articulate with the overarching question of (un)well-being, whether flourishing, making do, surviving, struggling, declining, or dying: Planet, Habitation, Politics and Governance, Relations, Bodies/Minds. With these themes, we intend to prompt reflection and open discussion on the purpose and purchase of anthropology on a troubled and damaged planet. Focusing on questions of illness and health, well-being and being-unwell, in bodily, institutional, ecological, spiritual, and psychological domains, we invite contributions exploring how anthropological knowledge might envision, anticipate, and forge alternative futures.

For more info: https://theasa.org/conferences/asa2023/