Transitions may be the most constant feature of everyday life. With endless uncertainties that are exacerbated by political turmoil, pandemic unpredictability, and climate crisis, our quotidian experiences are steeped in mutability. Transitions present us with both challenges and opportunities, not only in our everyday lives but also in our work as anthropologists. We hope that transitions may be something that we can approach with a sense of experimentation, imagination, and play, rather than a growing state of exhaustion and dread. As we navigate these transitions, we continue to think about how anthropology can rise to face our current condition, or ways it may fall short.
Within the word transition, emphasizing the prefix trans opens up avenues of thought that celebrate the in-betweenness of our state of being. Rather than focusing on the pressures to move on to the next thing (to be post-COVID, post-racial, post-colonial, as it may), tarrying in transition helps us to appreciate the difficult path toward restoring proper relationships. Many of us long for Indigenous self-determination, and authentic practices of inclusion and justice across lines of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability. Attaining these forms of life ultimately depends on careful attention to the transitions involved as we bridge past and future. Transitions may be understood as forms of liminality: highly structured, ritualized, and signaled. They may also represent the unknown– a move from stable ground to less certain topographies, new vernaculars, and unfamiliar grammars.
As we gather for AAA/CASCA 2023, we invite our colleagues and collaborators to think with us about transitions and in-betweenness, and to explore our anthropological curiosity in relation to many other iterations of ‘trans-ness.’ This includes but is not limited to transnationalism, trans identities, transitivity, transdisciplinarity, translanguaging, transparency, transhumanism, transluminescence, translation, transliteration, transcendence, transfusion, and transmutation. By dwelling in the process of transition, understanding it as a project of connection and mobility, our Toronto meeting will bring us together to linger in the contingencies of transition, and to understand transition as a professional, scholarly, and everyday condition which we must embrace.
Learn more about the 2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting Executive Program Committee (EPC).