Call for Participants:
Reading the State from the South: Alternative Imaginaries of Belonging

By challenging the binary logic of state/non state assumptions, this panel moves from specific questions about state formation and social movements toward a more critical anthropology of the state. We draw on scholars who have revealed the ongoing processes of state effect and state affect that undermine any notion of state and society as separate and monolithic entities, bringing them together as a set of power relations that are socioculturally and historically grounded (Abrams 1977; Clark 2012; Coronil 1997; Das and Poole 2004; Joseph and Nugent 1994; Mitchell, 1991; Nugent and Krupa 2015; Painter 2006; Sharma 2006). Taking this approach, this panel will address state projects as a diverse sets of assemblages and everyday practices enacted through relationships among individuals, cultural and political practices, multiple sites, and social organizations (Sharma and Gupta 2006). From an off-centered perspective on both the “political fields” in which state-practices and representations may appear, as well as the location of our ethnographic analyses (Nugent and Krupa 2015), this panel aims to critically address the everyday forms of diasporic, racial, and gendered state formation as a complex entanglement of identity politics, institutions and political economic forces (Tilly 1994; Goldberg 2002). This panel aims to offer an opportunity to discuss emergent obstacles, goals, and aspirations of alternative political projects and subjectivities from the Global the midst of current global political transformation, this panel encompasses three interrelated questions: How do state agents and ordinary people navigate and challenge institutional spaces? In what ways do their practices contest liberal principles of equality and hierarchy, to offer alternative ways of occupying the world in relation to/in place of the state? Alternatively, when and how do state agents and ordinary people themselves reproduce the state as a unitary and/or transcendent entity?

We invite ethnographically grounded research that problematizes the national-territorial state by bringing questions of displacement, temporality, racialization, gender and/or imperialism to their analyses of statecraft from the Global South. We encourage ethnographic analyses that focuses on state agents and ordinary people’s everyday experiences and political practices to capture and observe details of forms of political actions and subjective interactions that can reveal how modes of governance and decision making processes are socially constructed and contested by diverse social actors (Forrest 2017; Joseph et al 2007; Schatz 2009).

For those interested in presenting on this panel, please contact Beatriz Juarez Rodríguez ( and Abdulla Majeed ( with a tentative title and a brief abstract (100-150 words) by Saturday, January 25.


Call for Participants - Doing/Undoing Language


In the one hundred years since his death, Ferdinand de Saussure’s revolutionary vision of language as a synchronic totality of interlinked values has come to dominate linguistics. At a time when almost all other macrosociological categories (nation, ethnicity, religion, class) have come to be seen as, in actuality, pluralistic groupings, languages appear to retain their essential unity. Recent work in linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics has begun to argue, however, that the idea of languages as unified systems is a scalar phenomenon. “Sociolinguistic systems are not unified,” notes Jan Blommaert (2013, 11). “A sociolinguistic system is always a ‘system of systems’, characterized by different scale levels – the individual is a system, his/her peer group is one, his/her age category another and so on… Centers in a polycentric system typically occupy specific scale levels and operate as foci of normativity, that is, of ordered indexicalities.” Whether as a consequence of nationalism (Bilaniuk 2005; Dong 2010), print capitalism (Anderson 1983), class formation (Bourdieu 1991), or neoliberal economics (Shin 2016), speech practices are regimented by states, markets, and institutions into coherent and identifiable wholes. A language is therefore a convenient – but in many ways contested – label that speakers can deploy to characterize some type of speech as belonging to some type of social and linguistic category; it is, nonetheless, an ideological artifact of a sociolinguistic system.


The papers in this panel will attend to the interactional and discursive linguistic practices through which languages are both constituted and fragmented, done and undone, by everyday social actions. Possible topics include:

· Processes of national language formation or regulation of language variation

· Practices of language standardization or the commodification of language codes

· Translanguaging, code-mixing, plurilingualism or other practices that exist between the margins of traditionally defined languages

· Implications of language contact, shift and/or endangerment for speakers and communities

· How types of speech are enregistered as the natural property of particular social, gender, ethnic, or religious groups

· Language practices in non-traditional speech communities, including constructed languages, computer-mediated communication, professional registers, and taboo languages


Interested participants should contact the panel co-organizers, Eric Henry ( and Sarah Shulist ( for more information or to submit an abstract. This panel is sponsored by the CASCA LingAnthLing network.

“Doing & Undoing Commodity Discourses:
The Production of Value(s) in Uncertain Times


The present moment of planetary climate crisis, unstable global politics, and the violence of capitalist accumulation continue to shape commodity production on a worldwide scale. Researchers often ethnographically examine these global commodity chains in regard to political economy, anthropology and cultural theory to explore the tangled webs of social relations. This panel proposes to bring together anthropologists focusing on how the constructed value of a commodity is often legitimized via particular discourses. Building on panels that recently took place at the joint AAA & CASCA meetings in Vancouver (The Climate of Commodity Discourses: Values We Produce, Market and Consume - Part I & II) we ask participants to focus specifically on commodity discourses that are utilised by actors to legitimize value for an object, people, or institution. Past panelists have examined discourses at different points of a commodity’s social life in cases including the craft beer industry, organic food, gemstones, halal, Sikh fashion, authenticity in beauty markets, cooking schools, alternative health products, kimchi, and more in a variety of global locations.


The final description will encapsulate all submissions to present a cohesive panel. We hope you will consider joining us at – CASCA! Please submit abstracts of 100-150 words to as soon as possible.



Jason WM Ellsworth

Research Fellow, PhD Candidate & Lecturer

SOSA Dalhousie University”

Call for participants in CASCA/Congress 2020 session on "Doing/Undoing 'Good Work'"

This panel will feature contributions from researchers whose work focuses on various forms of humanitarian action and the people it involves and affects (including people who choose to undertake ‘good work’ through volunteering at home or abroad, people whose paid labour is essential to ongoing processes of humanitarianism, and/or people for whom the ‘good work’ of humanitarian action is ostensibly intended). Presentations may focus on any number of themes including: different perspectives on the relative moral value of action and inaction in humanitarian projects; humanitarian projects involving people with varying understandings of the moral value of voluntary and paid work; the practical implications of what some experience as a deeply felt moral imperative to take action in pursuit of the good; and so on.

If you are interested in joining this panel, please contact Andrew Walsh ( with a tentative title and brief abstract of your proposed
paper (no more than 100 words) by Friday, January 24. Earlier preliminary expressions of interest are also welcome!

Many thanks!


Andrew Walsh
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Western Ontario

Call for participants in CASCA/Congress 2020 session on "Doing/Undoing
State Formation"

This panel aims to bring ethnographic insights to bear on the processes
of doing and undoing state formation. Doing state formation: while the
state can be seen simply as a way to exercise power, more interesting
anthropologically is how the state gets ‘called up,’ conjured, and
invited into new spaces by non-state actors of various kinds. How does
the state come to seem real and functional in people’s lives, through
the actions of both state actors and non-state actors? How do state
actors and state agencies enable certain kinds of activity and constrain
others? Undoing state formation: in various parts of the world we can
observe popular protest that aims to undo certain kinds of state
formation, but we also see powerful people working to undo state
policies and regulations for quite different reasons. What do these
various kinds of undoings, deregulatings, etc., enable -- and for whom?
This panel aims to capture a range of experiences and practices
associated with doing and undoing state formation in different moments
and regions.

If you are interested in joining this panel, please contact Kim Clark
( with a tentative title and brief abstract of your proposed
paper (no more than 100 words) by Friday, January 24. Earlier
preliminary expressions of interest are also welcome!


Are you looking for panelists? Do you want some advice as to where to stay or places to go while at the CASCA Conference? If yes, please feel free to submit a short blurb to We will post all pertinent information to this section to facilitate communication between members as they prepare for the upcoming conference.