In an era of “fake news” and “alt” political movements, what counts as meaning making? How can we understand epistemology in an era of madness? The issue of resemblance is as much a pressing social question as it is an academic preoccupation. The American Ethnological Society and the Society for Visual Anthropology explore the theme of resemblance at their 2018 joint spring conference. Welcoming anthropologists, artists, media makers, and community members to Philadelphia during March 22-24, the meeting will provide an opportunity to revisit and explore anew what we believe is knowable as anthropologists and the ways we may wish to rethink our priorities and approaches in our era of heightened violence, strife, surveillance, and policing.
Resemblance is at the very heart of anthropology, as its practitioners have sought to demonstrate the commonalities of all people. While resemblance relies upon recognition and likening, it is also a means of comparison to what one perceives and believes they already know. The conference organizers invite proposals for panels consisting of papers or multimodal presentations, as well as individual submissions that theoretically, methodologically, visually, or otherwise examine the conference theme. We welcome graduate students to present their work in its early stages and to network with more establish practitioners. The conference will feature exhibitions, speakers, films, performances, as well as a town hall discussion about how our field can wield greater influence in public struggles of resemblance.