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Call for Papers & Labs: An Unwell World? Anthropology in a Speculative Mode


There is a ‘one role just once, up to four roles altogether’ rule at ASA conferences:

  • A delegate may present one paper
  • Be a convenor of one panel or lab or roundtable
  • Be a chair in one panel or lab or roundtable
  • Be a discussant in one panel or lab (roundtable participation is considered being a discussant)

We cannot stop you from making several proposals, but would urge you to be prudent, as so much time gets lost in the subsequent processing of withdrawals, to say nothing of the potential upset to panel convenors. (See some advice below.*)

Authors and panel convenors do not have to be members of ASA by the time they register for the conference. However, conference registration for members will be notably lower than for non-members, so there may be a financial incentive to join the Society.

Formats: panels, roundtables, laboratories

This conference has panels in various formats:

  • Panels are structured in the traditional manner of four papers per session. Ideally we’d like to limit panels to a maximum of two consecutive 90-minute sessions, each of which can include a maximum of 4 papers/presentations (so 8 papers all together). However, if a panel receives twice the number of proposals, or more (so above 16 proposals), additional sessions may be allowed at the discretion of the Scientific Committee. No panel can run for more than four sessions, though.
  • Roundtables in which a group of scholars (no more than 5) discuss particular themes/issues in front of (and subsequently with) an audience. While a roundtable can include short (5-10 min) provocations/presentations, the main idea is to create a lively debate, not to focus on any one presenter. Roundtables will be limited to one 90-minute session.
  • Laboratories are characterised by experimentation, collaboration, interaction or improvisation, bringing the focus to research methods, the ethnographic process and the mode of expression in presenting results. Rather than exhibiting already finished work, the aim of laboratories is to organise collective research activities that are open-ended and cultivate possibilities for surprise, novelty and learning. Laboratories will be designed as interactive, reflexive sessions that prioritise exploration, rather than the discussion of already established research results. They can be used to tackle practical problems, to re-evaluate concepts, to find new theoretical and political directions, or to understand emergent cultural dynamics. Whether concerned with possibilities and limitations in current anthropological practice, or with cultural and political problematics in an unequal world, labs can provide space for addressing any themes in creative, interactive, and open-ended fashion. The call for labs is open for the same time as the call for papers, see here for more information and how to propose a lab.

Proposing a paper

Paper proposals must consist of:

  • a paper title
  • the name/s and email address/es of author/s
  • a short abstract of fewer than 300 characters
  • a long abstract of fewer than 250 words

All proposals must be made via the online form, not by email. There is a ‘Propose paper’ button in the title section of each open panel. Navigate to the panel you are interested in and click on this button to propose directly to that panel.

On submission of the proposal, the authors will receive an automated email confirming receipt. If you do not receive this email, please first check the login environment (Cocoa) via the link in the toolbar above, to see if your proposal is there. If it is, it simply means your confirmation email got spammed/lost; if it is not, you will need to re-submit, as for some reason the process was not completed. To add co-authors later on in the process, please email conference(at)theasa.org

Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the Call for Papers (3 January 2023). Convenors will then be asked to make their decisions over the papers proposed to their panel by 17 January 2023 and to communicate those to the proposers, marking them up within the login environment (Cocoa).

Propose a Paper

*Possible strategic advice

You may notice that alongside the ‘Propose paper’ button for each panel there is a statement as to how many papers have been proposed to that panel to-date. If you are proposing early, this statement will not be very instructive. However if you are part of the 80% who propose within the last 48hrs of the call, you might factor these statements into your consideration of where best to target your paper. If weighing up between two panels where one is heavily oversubscribed, you may have a higher chance of acceptance within the panel with fewer proposals. Obviously that’s not guaranteed, but it’s worth considering these strategies.

Good proposals not accepted in their original destination may be entered into a transfer process (see below) which affords a second and third attempt to accommodate your paper.

Transfer process

Papers which are neither accepted nor rejected, but marked for ’transfer’ (by the panel convenors), will be given the opportunity to be re-housed into other panels. The conference organisers will contact authors of such proposals asking them to modify their abstracts to fit another panel of their choosing. We will advise as to panels containing fewer than the allowed maximum (8) which may thus be able to include a few more.

Authors will be asked to suggest two panels they would like to apply to, in order of preference. We then forward the title, short, and long abstracts to the convenors’ consideration. If the first panel rejects the proposal, we contact the second choice. Transfers which get rejected by both panels will then be set to ‘rejected’. We aim to resolve all transfers by 6 February 2023.

Useful information for later in this process

Editing your paper

Paper authors can use the login link in the toolbar above to edit their proposals.

Pre-circulation of papers

ASA has no rule about this, but many convenors are keen to pre-circulate completed papers. To facilitate this and save on email traffic, if requested by convenors, authors can upload PDFs of their papers within the online system, which will then show as downloadable files beneath the abstract on the public panel page on the site. There is currently no option to restrict this to panelists/delegates (although this feature is in the development pipeline).

Timing of presentations

Each panel/workshop session slot will be 90 minutes long, accommodating a maximum of four presenters. Convenors should allot each presenter a maximum of 15 +5 mins for panels of four papers.

Timing of presentations

Convenor/author email addresses are not shown on the panel pages for privacy/anti-spam reasons. However there is an in-built secure email messaging system which has been updated to give more reliable delivery. If you cannot work that, please email conference(at)theasa.org to obtain relevant email addresses.

Any queries with the above please email conference(at)theasa.org.

Important Dates

Call for panels: 14/09-20/10/2022

Panels selected: 30/11/2022

Call for papers: 01/12-03/01/2023

Call for labs: 01/12-03/01/2023

Papers marked up: 03/01-17/01/2023

Transfer process: 17/01-06/02/2023

Early Bird registration: 13/02-20/03/2023


More info: Call for Papers – ASA2023 (theasa.org)