UPDATE: Risk and Breakdown (1/1/06; 3/31/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Leigh Campoamor
contact email: 

Please note that information on the keynote speaker for the conference has been

*****Please forward widely to graduate students. Thanks!*****


The graduate program in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University will host the

Duke University, Durham, NC
Friday, March 31, 2006


This conference explores how risk and breakdown are used both in discourse and
in practice. Risk and breakdown are often associated with social panic,
surveillance, political unrest, and psychosis. However, these associations need
not be understood as disabling. In what ways can risk and breakdown, as
critical terms and as practices, be productive? How might they help us think
beyond the agency/structure paradigm? In particular, we are interested in
addressing the cultural specificities of risk and breakdown and how these terms
travel across time, space, and discipline.

We welcome proposals that interrogate risk and breakdown as they relate to the
daily lives of the people we study and our own methodological practices as
researchers. When and where in our research do we encounter risks and
breakdowns? What are the ethical implications of studying people at risk, or
even representing them as such? In what ways can breakdown help us rethink the
way we define culture in our work? Proposed papers might explore how the
cultural politics of risk and/or breakdown relate to questions of
governmentality, human rights, militarism, identity, performativity,
medicalization, or the academy. In accordance with our commitment to the
transdisciplinary study of culture, we hope to forge a dialogue between
students of anthropology, history, literary studies, film studies, cultural
studies, sociology, and psychology.

The keynote speaker for the conference is David Graeber, activist and Assistant
Professor of Anthropology at Yale University. Graeber received his Ph.D. in
Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1996. He began his career
working on rural politics in Madagascar, and has more recently taken up
innovative projects focusing on anarchism and globalization. His publications
include *Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own
Dreams* (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), *Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology*
(Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004), and "The New Anarchists," which appeared in the
Jan-Feb 2002 issue of the *New Left Review.* In keeping with his commitment to
anarchism, Graeber?s forthcoming work, *Direct Action: An Ethnography*,
offers an anthropological perspective on direct action.

Papers should not exceed fifteen minutes. The deadline for submission of 250-500
word abstracts is January 1, 2006. Please include your name, institutional
affiliation, e-mail address, and phone number. Abstracts should be submitted
via e-mail to riskandbreakdown_at_yahoo.com. Please check
http://culturalanthropology.duke.edu/news/Riskandbreakdown.html for routine
updates about the conference. Information on logistics such as travel and
lodging will shortly be available on the website.

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Received on Tue Dec 13 2005 - 08:40:59 EST