Call for Panels: World Anthropological Union Congress 2024

Call for Panels: World Anthropological Union Congress 2024

Anthropology Southern Africa warmly invites you to join us in Mzansi/South Africa for the inaugural World Anthropological Union (WAU) Congress from November 11 to 15, 2024. Organized by Anthropology Southern Africa and hosted by the University of Johannesburg, this groundbreaking event promises a rich exploration of anthropological knowledge under the theme:

Reimagining Anthropological Knowledge: Perspectives, Practices, and Power

Anthropology, as with other disciplines in the arts and social sciences, has engaged over decades with multiple paradigmatic shifts and critiques of the ways in which anthropological knowledge is gathered, organised, presented and theorised. From the 1960s onwards, anthropological knowledge has engaged with, and seen concomitant shifts in practice as a result of [post - ] theoretical movements:






Post- post-colonialism -> decolonial shift;


Recent shifts in some spaces have also critiqued even the notion of ‘post-’, such as the decolonial movement, for example, which argues that post-colonialism does not take critique far enough, and that social theory should strive instead for decolonial approaches.

All of these critiques share a core concern with recognising the constructedness of knowledge, and the power relations that underlie what we know and how we know it. Anthropology has a slightly different perspective to many other social science disciplines in that the discipline itself is premised on a recognition of the inherent value of plural knowledge forms, through cultural relativism and an historic and contemporary disciplinary stance against ethnocentrism.

Against this set of concerns, we propose a WAU Congress that engages with anthropological knowledge making in its various forms, recognising theoretical, geographical, socio-political contextual and ontological differences in how anthropological knowledge is made, transmitted and distributed in varied spaces.

We seek panels that speak, but are not limited, to:

• Changing fields of anthropological subdisciplines;

• The politics of producing social, cultural, linguistic, biological and paleo- anthropological knowledge;

• Ideas and ideals of ethnographic and ethnological practice;

• Post-covid practices in anthropological knowledge making;

• Digital worlds and the role of new technologies in fieldwork;

• The legitimacy of museums and collections as knowledge repositories;

• Ideas of truth and/ or post-truth in knowledge-making and representation;

• Anthropology as the humbling practice of learning;

• Tensions between local knowledge production and academic knowledge production;

• Disaggregating local knowledges in light of critical decolonial perspectives;

• Challenges and successes of the decolonial imperative;

• Decoloniality and criticality: overlaps, tensions, and differences;

• The politics of disseminating knowledges;

• Manifestations of hegemony in knowledge production, and their dangers;

• The knowledges which one can’t quite see, hear, touch, feel, smell;

• Survival, revival and flourishing in a “post”- catastrophic world;

• Changing ethics, methods and techniques in ethnographic research;

• (Re)production of hegemony and hierarchy in anthropological research;

• Pleasure, joy and fun in anthropological research;

• Anthropology out of the “Ivory towers”;

• “Studying up” and anthropology of institutions/elites etc;

• Creativity and the art in/of/as research.

Rules for submission of panels:

• All proposals are submitted online through the Congress website.

• Each person can submit only one panel proposal.

• Panel conveners must choose whether their panel is in person only, online only, or open to the possibility of being hybrid.

• A panel proposal should have at least two (or more) conveners. At least two of the conveners must be from different countries and institutional affiliations. At least one of the panel conveners must hold a PhD at the time of proposal submission.

• Reflecting Africa’s language diversity, the Congress is running Francophone and Lusophone language streams. All panel proposals must indicate the language of their panel and provide the panel title/abstracts in both English and language of presentation.

Details required for submission of a panel proposal:

• Convener details with their institutional affiliations.

• Online or in person

• Language of presentation

• Title (maximum 20 words)

• A long abstract stating the subject and objectives of the proposal, highlighting its academic or practical relevance to the anthropological sciences (maximum 500 words).

• Five keywords.

• Name of affiliating commission/s (if applicable)

• A person can convene only one panel. However, a convener can have two roles such as a convener/co-convener of a panel, paper presenter, etc.

Affiliations with IUAES Commission/s

It is recommended the panel proposer seek affiliation with an IUAES Commission/s according to a topic of common interest. Our Commissions promote networking among their members, engaging them in joint activities, such as webinars and panels for international IUAES conferences, as well as disseminating activities and publications of their members through social media.

Panel proposers should contact the convener of any of the IUAES commissions for support. The process of collaboration needs to be completed before the submission of the panel proposal. Panel conveners, however, retain full intellectual authority and autonomy over their panel.

Evaluation of the panel proposal

The Scientific Committee will evaluate the relevance and quality of the proposals received and will be responsible for the selection of the panels. The conveners will be informed about the decision of the scientific committee by the organisers. This will be followed by the call for papers and other relevant forms of participation.


Description Dates

Call for Panels (onsite and online): 1 Dec 2023 - 22 Jan 2024

Evaluation of Panels: 22 February 2024

Announcement of Accepted Panels: 01 March 2024

Calls for Papers (abstract submission): 8 March - 30 April 2024

Calls for Roundtables (onsite only): 8 March - 30 April 2024

Call for Legotla (onsite only): 8 March - 30 April 2024

Call for Films, Art Installations etc (onsite only): 8 March - 30 April 2024

Call for Book Launches (onsite only): 8 March - 30 April 2024

Evaluation of Papers: 31 May 2024

Announcement of Accepted Papers etc: 07 June 2024

NB: The Anthropology Southern Africa (ASnA) annual conference is being hosted by the University of Johannesburg from 6-8 November 2024. We welcome you to attend and learn more about the exciting scholarship emanating from southern Africa. Discounts are available if you attend both the ASnA Conference and the WAU Congress. Please see ASnA web page for the call for panels/papers.

Join us in reimagining anthropological knowledge - let your voice be heard in this transformative gathering!

World Anthropological Union Congress 2024

Organizing Committee


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