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The Association of Senior Anthropologists presents a rich and varied program in Vancouver, with eight distinct events. Five are paper sessions, three of which are traditional paper-sessions, another focuses on visual imagery, and one is a celebratory session in honor of First Nation anthropologists. All are intended to challenge any lingering notion of a bounded ethnography or of static visual, historic representations and even of a bounded truth. Three other events are designed to cement the mutuality of interests and concerns of participants in our program: an interactive mentoring session between senior and junior anthropologists that is co-sponsored with the Association for Anthropology, Gerontology and the Life Course (AAGE), a harbor cruise and tour of 15 “labour heritage” sites, and our ever lively business lunch.

List of Events

Thursday, November 21

“The Lifespan of Ethnographic Reports: The Importance of Revisits (Part 1)” (3-0225)
8:00–9:45 a.m. West, Room 112
Paper Session Presenters: Moshe Shokeid, Mary E. Hegland, Mark S. Mosko, Maria G. Cattell, Stanley Brandes, Myrdene Anderson

“The Lifespan of Ethnographic Reports: The Importance of Revisits (Part 2)” (3-0565)
10:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m. West Room 112
Paper Session Presenters: Erika Loeffler Friedl, Sharon Gmelch, Frederick H. Damon, R. Thomas Rosin, John B. Page.
Discussants: H. Russell Bernard, James Tim Wallace, III

“Association of Senior Anthropologists (ASA) Business Meeting/Luncheon” (3-0645)
12:15–1:45 p.m. Offsite – Rogue Terrace, C – Rogue Convention Centre, 200 Burrat St

“Harbour Cruise and Tour of BC/Vancouver Labour Heritage Sites” (3-0990)
2:00–6:00 p.m. Offsite – BC Labour Heritage Center

Friday, November 22

“Anthropology in and of the Life Course: An ASA & AAGE Mentorship Event” (4-0800)
2:00–3:45 p.m. East Room 12.
Organizers: James T. Wallace III, Celeste Pang

“Honoring First Nations’ Anthropologists” (4-1185)
4:15–6:00 p.m.
Paper Presenters: Jay Miller, Lucy Fowler Williams, Margaret Seguin Anderson, Marianne Ignace, Sergei Kan, Alice Kehoe

Saturday, November 23

“Conversations Across Generations: Photography Over the Years” (5-0785)
2:00–3:45 p.m. West Room 122
Presenters: Pablo Landa, Jeffrey Ehrenreich, Anita Spring, Malcolm Collier, Stanley Brandes, Sofia Pinedo-Padoch, Herbert Lewis

“INFORMATION / DISINFORMATION: The Shaky Ground of Knowledge Production” (5-1155)
4:15–6:00 p.m. West Room 118
Paper Presenters: Robert Marshall, Patricia Antoniello, Jonathan M. Marks, Susan Trencher, Stephen Reyna.
Discussants: Louise Lamphere, Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Highlights of Events

The two Thursday paper sessions, “The Lifespan of Ethnographic Reports: The Importance of Revisits,” pick up a theme that has been close to the heart of ASA members: the provisional nature of ethnography, given the ever changing condition of social life, hence the need for return visits to the field to enlarge our parameters of observation as much as possible. The papers themselves are the work of “veteran anthropologists” who have done just that: gone back to the field, observed the changes, and altered their conclusions and, perhaps, their perspectives.

Friday’s sessions include a mentorship workshop and a celebratory session reminding us of the work of earlier anthropologists. “Anthropology in and of the Life Course: An ASA & AAGE Mentorship” pairs senior scholars whose work focuses on issues connected to aging and the life course with junior scholars in the same field, even graduate students. It will be a “speed-mentoring workshop” with pre-selected mentors and mentees sharing ideas and rotating to different participants. The object of the workshop is to help create networks taking advantage of the life/work experience of senior scholars and the novel ideas/interests of junior scholars.

“Honoring First Nations’ Anthropologists” then turns our gaze to the beginnings of anthropology on the North American continent, describing the substantive contributions of First Nations’ scholars, their role as consistent eyes on the ethnographic observation of life in this continent and as interlocutors with anthropologists from elsewhere, notably Boas. Participants in this session lament the oblivion to which the work of First Nations’ anthropologists has been relegated: hence the incentive for this celebratory session as “homage” to their forgotten work.

Saturday’s sessions include a heavily visual session, “Conversations Across Generations: Photography Over the Years,” intended to trace the changes in visual representation on which we have come to rely. Participants in this session utilize photographs and slides, drawing comparisons between early and current use of photography in the field and how it has changed even within each anthropologist’s career. Issues of technological change, globalization, and the consequent changes in field relationships and in the politics of representation are considered.

The second session, “INFORMATION / DISINFORMATION: The Shaky Ground of Knowledge Production” focuses on the thorny, often disingenuous distinction between facts and interpretations. The central concern here is to consider ways to distinguish between the real, thoughtful existence of differing interpretations and the fabrication of “alt-facts” for self-interested purposes. Spanning biological, medical, and cultural anthropology, as well as the fields of linguistics and philosophy, these papers exhibit a common sentiment. We need to hold on to our trust in the importance of “relative truth” while not falling prey to the sentiment occasionally surfacing that truth is negotiable.

Tim Wallace, fieldtrip organizer, invited all to “join us on a fascinating 2-hour tour into Vancouver’s rich and diverse labor history.” Please register early to secure a ticket by following the steps below.

  1. Enter the AAA website at
  1. Click on the white Login button at the middle-top of the page. Enter your email address and password in the boxes indicated, and click on the Go button. (If you have not yet registered for the annual meeting, you will have to do so and log in again before continuing.)
  1. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you can click on Annual Meeting WORKSHOPS/EVENTS/BADGES, which should appear just below the blue block panels on the upper part of the page.
  1. Find and click on Add Workshops, which should appear near the top of the page, under the Meetings/Other Events header on the left side of the line for the 2019 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting.
  1. Scroll down and click on the box next to the 2nd item on the list: Field trip: Harbour Cruise Labor and Tour of BC/Vancouver Labour Heritage Sites
  1. Scroll the rest of the way to the bottom right of the page and click on Save/Add To Cart.
  1. Under the heading quantity change the number from 1 to a higher number if you wish to purchase more than one spot on the tour; then scroll down to the bottom right of the page, click on Check-Out, and follow the rest of the payment instructions.

Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb is ASA’s program chair. She teaches at New York University, Gallatin School, and co-chairs the Culture, Power, Boundaries Seminar at Columbia University.

Cite as: Achino-Loeb, Maria-Luisa. 2019. “ASA at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Vancouver.” Anthropology News website, October 30, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1294