Truth before Transition: Reimagining Anthropology as Restorative Justice

11/15/2023 6:30 PM- 8:00 PM TMCC Hall F

Keynote Address by Kisha Supernant

Kisha Supernant

Anthropology is a discipline in transition. We must face the difficult truths of our discipline’s complicity in setler colonial violence and saviorism, and how they have shaped our theories and methods. In this keynote, I discuss how I turn toward truth-telling as an Indigenous archaeologist, both in terms of critiquing the discipline and using the tools of archaeology to support Indigenous communities locate potential graves of their loved ones who died at Indian Residential Schools. I explore how truth-telling opens space for a more restorative and just practice of anthropology, one that emerges from a commitment to recognize harm, support resurgence, and repair relations with peoples who have long been the subjects of anthropological study. I argue that this is a necessary transition for anthropology to have a future that is ethical, relevant, and restorative.

Kisha Supernant (University of Alberta)

Weaver-Tremblay 2023: Anthropological Activism for Territories of Life

11/16/2023 6:30 PM- 8:15 PM TMCC Hall F

Weaver-Tremblay Address

The foremost crises of our times – of human suffering and environmental decline – propel a diverse reimagining of anthropology, and how our discipline is to engage these crises. Orthodox accumulation of capital and consolidation of power deliver not just mounting levels of material inequality and insecurity for humans, but accelerating species extinctions and climate change that undermine well-being and beauty on Earth. It becomes increasingly difficult to think of human justice separate from environmental justice. If, through some force of inertia, human rights and the rights of nature occupy somewhat distinctive discursive registers, it is increasingly difficult to imagine solving one without solving the other. An anthropology for the human increasingly demands a more than human anthropology, an anthropology of relationalities that embrace whole webs of human and other-than-human life. I want to consider an activist anthropology for these times. It is not news for our discipline that biodiversity loss is tied to declines in cultural diversity – we have long worked among peoples for whom territorial disruption and dislocation have accompanied the loss of institutions, of knowledge and of languages. Our work with Indigenous and other communities offers a particular vantage point on the perils of capitalist modernity, and at the same time, pathways for practical response and remedy, anchored in the outlooks of local interlocutors and collaborators, and their strategies for weathering storms and shaping worlds. The exceptional promise of these strategies is their reference to ontologies that refuse a logic of anthropocentric, competitive, perpetual economic growth, insisting rather on a more fundamental law of reciprocity – law in both scientific and normative senses of the term. This is not some pale cultural relativist accommodation, but recognition rather of a paradigm that understands modernist excesses as dead-end forms of negative reciprocity, while advancing positive reciprocities as the standard of care for places, all beings, and territories of life. My discussion turns, then, to some key elements of a movement around ‘territories of life,’ governed and conserved by Indigenous and other local community stewards, where livelihoods, lifeways and stewardship practices are integral to flourishing biocultural community. This movement is a lens for considering a range of theoretical and practical matters for an engaged anthropology: our role in inter-disciplinary and inter-epistemic knowledge co-creation; the ethics of decolonial research and pedagogy in Indigenous and other community contexts; the political dynamics linking action at scales of community and territory to macro-system transformation; and the diverse alliances that are possible and necessary to generate change.

Emma Varley (Brandon University, Department of Anthropology) & Colin Scott (McGill University, Department of Anthropology)

AAA Annual Business Meeting

11/17/2023 6:15 PM- 7:30 PM TMCC Hall F

AAA Annual Business Meeting

The Business Meeting provides an opportunity for AAA members to present resolutions or make motions for consideration and potential adoption by the Association. Resolutions are written statements of position or action, typically dealing with matters of substance and/or complexity. The meeting also provides an opportunity to hear reports from the President, Officers, and different Committee Chairs on actions the association has discussed during the previous year. The AAA by-laws require that a quorum of 250 members in good standing be present to transact official business at the Meeting.

AAA Presidental Address

11/18/2023 6:30 PM- 8:15 PM TMCC Hall F

AAA Presidental Address

Recentering Ethics in Anthropology: When Do No Harm becomes Harm Done
As we continue to define anthropology for the 21st century, I argue that ethics – what we mean by ethics, how we invoke ethics, and how we demonstrate our ethics – should be at the center of our conversation. Through this conversation, I offer a challenge to center an ethics of care in our work that derives not from the Common Rule or broad policies of US institutions but rather is derived from our responsibility for the impact of our actions whether intentional or unintentional, and is situated in the moral narratives of the communities that we serve.

Ramona L. Pérez, Ph.D.(San Diego State University, Department of Anthropology)

Featured Sessions

Executive, Invited and Co-Sponsored Sessions

Careers Expo

Curious about careers in Professional, Practicing, and Applied Anthropology? Then join the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) for the 19th Annual Careers Expo on Friday, November 17th from 11am to 4pm in the Toronto Metro Convention Centre in the Exhibit Hall. Meet with Career Guides from across industries for lively conversations about how anthropological training positively impacts the public and private sectors. Learn from established professionals and get your questions answered about best practices for putting anthropological skills to work. Networking is encouraged, so get ready to practice your elevator pitches with a friendly audience. Students, academic and applied mentors, and career changers welcome!

Sponsored by NAPA and AAA


Practice day

On Saturday, November 18 at the Annual Meeting in Toronto, we present Practice Day, a full day of programming designed by and for anthropologists who work in business, government, and nonprofit settings. The day will feature specially curated workshops, facilitated discussion on key problems of practice, networking opportunities, and a keynote from Anya-Milana Sulaver, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Peeps Magazine. Events are open to all in-person Annual Meeting attendees, including weekend registrants. Separate Practice Day registration is not required to attend the Practice Day keynote or affinity groups; however, if you would like to submit an affinity group topic for consideration or attend the Practice Day luncheon from 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM, please register in advance.

To add workshops to your existing Annual Meeting registration, log in to the AAA Community Hub. Select My Registrations -> 2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting: Transitions-> Edit Existing.