Culture and Agriculture has organized and sponsored a full slate of activities during the 2013 AAA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

We are pleased to announce a C&A sponsored Executive Roundtable organized by Jeanne Simonelli (Wake Forest U).  “Future Science, Current Crisis: Turning Research Into the Science Behind Policy.”  This roundtable will explore the timely issue of how anthropologists navigate the complexities of making their research more applicable to policy in an increasingly volatile world of human and environmental urgencies and disasters where the hard sciences are the most valued sources of information for high-level decision makers.

Culture & Agriculture is sponsoring three invited sessions.  Two of these panels are scheduled for Thursday, November 21.  The first, “The Anthronaut Farmer,” organized by Edward Maclin (Center for Integrative Conservation Research) and James R Veteto (U North Texas) is the first ever (double)panel of anthropologist-farmers that will investigate the opportunities and tensions inherent in living a dual life of anthropologist and farmer.  The second invited session, “Republics of Labor: Contemporary Guestworkers as Future Publics,” organized by David Griffith (East Carolina U), focuses on agricultural guestworker experience both home and abroad.  This panel approaches guestworkers as publics set apart both socially and culturally in ways that constrain the work of labor activists and shape the lives of the guestworkers themselves.   The third invited session is scheduled for Saturday, November 23.  “Edible Identities: Exploring Food and Foodways as Cultural Heritage, Part I” is the first in two-part panel organized by Ronda Brulotte (U New Mexico) and Rachel Black (Boston U) that examines the ways in which the cultivation, preparation, and consumption of food is used to create identity claims of “cultural heritage” on local, regional, national and international scales.

In addition to executive and invited sessions, Culture & Agriculture is sponsoring five panels, one roundtable, and two workshops at the 112th AAA Annual Meeting.  On Thursday, November 21 the C&A schedule commences with “Anthropology, Extractive Industries, and Unconventional Energy,” a roundtable organized by Thomas Pearson (U Wisconsin-Stout).  This session brings together a multi-disciplinary group of social scientists to discuss current research on extractive industries, particularly oil and gas drilling, and to explore new avenues of collaboration between researchers, policy makers, and local communities.  A related panel, “Natural Resource Extraction: Focus on Fracking,” organized by Elizabeth Oslon (Allegheny C), will follow.  This panel provides a more focused look at anthropological research and engagement with natural gas exploration and production using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  Also scheduled for Thursday is “The Valorization of Specialty Commodities: Tensions Between Real and Ideal in the Market for Symbolic Quality,” organized by Jason Simms (U Florida).  Presenters will discuss the production of specialty food products and examine the power disparities in networks of producers, consumers, and retailers involved in the production, sale, and consumption of symbolically-valued goods.  In addition, this panel will critically examine agricultural movements such as fair trade, community gardening, organic and local production, and small-scale agro-tourism.

On Saturday, November 23 C&A is sponsoring two panels.  “New Ground for Revolutionary Engagements with Land, Food, and Capitalism,” organized by Thomas Guthrie (Guilford C) and Elise Trott (U New Mexico), examines the ways agriculturalists—including indigenous peoples, farm families, immigrant and refugee communities, back-to-the-land homesteaders, and urban gardeners, farmers and scavengers—position themselves partially or fully outside dominant economies.  Panelists will explore the social, political, environmental and economic effects of these activities.   Also on Saturday, the session “Agrarian Agency?: Agricultural Policy, Agribusiness and the State” will bring together volunteered papers that explore agricultural production within wider contexts of local, national, and global socioeconomic initiatives.

On Sunday, November 24 C&A concludes its program with “Agricultural Identities.” In this session, panelists will explore the ways farmers and farm families construct ideas of self and community.

Be sure to register for one of the two workshops sponsored by C&A.  Culture and Agriculture is happy to announce our second year of sponsorship of an important GIS workshop “Geospacial Analysis & Cultural Anthropology: An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) As a Method and An Application in Anthropological Research,” organized by Andrew Tarter (U Florida) and Edward Gonzalez-Tennant (Monmouth U).  It is scheduled for Thursday, November 21.  In a relaxed environment, the one-day workshop introduces participants to: (1) the structure of spatial data; (2) the acquisition of spatial data; (3) the incorporation of global positioning systems (GPS) and remote sensing (aerial and satellite) imagery; (4) ethical management of spatial data; (5) procedures for attaching attribute values to spatial data; and (6) various spatial analyses appropriate for exploring and answering culturally-informed research.  This introductory course utilizes ArcGIS 10 software, and provides free one-year licenses.  Participants provide their own PC laptops—or Mac with Windows capabilities—with the software already installed (contact workshop organizers for directions on prior software installation). Participants emerge with the basic skills and software necessary to continue using GIS to conduct their unique spatial analyses. Please contact C&A members Andrew Tarter (andrew.tarter@ufl.ede) or Edward Gonzalez-Tennant ( for more information.  Last year’s GIS workshop had one of the highest attendances of any offered at the AAA annual meetings.  The second workshop, “Grassroots Mapping and DIY Industrial Monitoring: Low Cost, Open Source Techniques for Community-Academic Collaboration in Environmental and Cultural Anthropology,” organized by Sara Wylie (Northeastern University and Public Laboratory), will be held Friday, November 22.

C & A will also be announcing this year’s Robert M Netting Award in Culture & Agriculture winner at our business meeting which will be held on Friday, November 22 from 6:15-7:30.  Following the business meeting will have be a reception at the delicious local tapas restaurant Mercat a la Planxa from 7:30-9:30.

We hope you will join Culture and Agriculture for what promises to be a conference full of excellent and informative events!

For additional information about these C&A events, please consult the AAA website.

Our column welcomes all materials of interest to C&A members. Please direct inquiries and ideas for future C&A section news columns to C&A Section Editor Susanna Donaldson at

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