CFP: ASAA/NZ 2019 Conference: Breaking Boundaries


Call for Papers: Breaking Boundaries
43rd Annual ASAA/NZ Conference, to be held from 28-30 November 2019 at Whāingaroa (Raglan), Waikato, New Zealand

We invite participants in the 2019 ASAA/NZ conference to mobilise the multifaceted concept of ‘boundaries’. Boundaries are the mental resources and material artefacts through which human and non-human lives are ordered, controlled and differentiated. A boundary may be physical, political, economic, territorial, social, administrative, disciplinary, gendered, cultural, ethnic, moral, environmental, linguistic, genetic and more. Seen from any of these perspectives, boundaries are not just static entities but dynamic zones that produce particular kinds of interaction. As sites of social entanglement, boundaries not only separate, distinguish, and discriminate, but they may also, at times, be transgressed, dissolved, and reconfigured through creative agency.

In the contemporary globalised world we are continually forced to remember that while inexorable flows of people and culture contain the possibility for empathetic familiarity, they can equally lead to the hardening, politicisation, and condemnation of cultural boundaries. On the one hand, porous boundaries promote all manner of syncretic permutations; mobile cultural forms are appropriated and contextualised in novel settings and local communities are recognised as being positioned within regional and global spheres of influence. The hardening of boundaries, on the other hand, is suggestive of the militarisation and securitisation of borders, discriminative immigration policies and the entrenchment of moral, ideological and religious fundamentalisms of all stripes. Hardening also points to territorialisation, the extension of new property rights and the carving up of the world’s terrestrial and marine resources, all of which radically challenges pre-existing livelihoods and forms of sociality.

Boundaries equally implicate anthropological theory-making, suggesting the tension between the boundedness of our field-sites and our disciplinary call for comparison. This raises questions concerning how we are to be both area scholars and comparativists at the same time, studying both the particular and the general, the local and the global or the coloniser and the colonised (Nader 2013). In anthropological practice, boundaries may be thought of as bridged through the creation of fieldwork relationships, or transcended through the use of novel methodologies prompting new kinds of ‘commoning’ (Bryers-Brown 2017). Thinking through boundaries pushes us to examine how they are established and undone, delineated and dissolved, or otherwise further hardened and the myriad social forms that may emerge in this process.

We invite paper abstracts and panel proposals that reflect the conference theme. All abstracts and proposals should be emailed to

Panel Proposals due 2 August 2019

Please send panel proposals by the deadline of 2 August 2019. These must include:

  • Panel title and 150 word abstract

  • Name of convenor(s)

  • Affiliation

  • Email address

  • Names of any pre-arranged presenters

Paper proposals due 6 September 2019

Paper proposals must include:

  • Paper title and 150 word abstract

  • Name of presenter(s)

  • Affiliation

  • Email address