Tag Archives: Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Solidarity

Solidarity is a key theme today, especially given its widespread failures as well as its numerous and multi-scalar forms, often provoked by current political developments. How can solidarity be described in the era of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and regressions into exclusive nationalism and authoritarianism, such as in Erdogan’s Turkey or Temer’s Brazil? How is solidarity forged, performed and challenged, from the local to the supra- and transnational, for instance in dealing with the plight of Syrian, Eritrean or Afghan refugees in or at the edges of Europe?

ETNOFOOR invites papers that present anthropological perspectives on solidarity, on Hannah Arendt’s actions in concert, marches against the grain, but also on solidarity’s dashed hopes, and on frightening xenophobic forms of solidarity in the 21st century. We take solidarity to primarily entail a commitment to the struggles of ‘others’ based on a common ground. Simultaneously, solidarity produces ‘selves’ that belong to communities. These constructed rather than given commonalities and group identities emerge from social practices, or rituals, that yield powerful emotions and (re-)affirm social cohesion. Solidarity produces, in the words of Durkheim, collective representations and so functions as an existential resource.

But solidarity need not be analyzed from a purely anthropocentric position. Lines between the ecological, the sacred and the human are blurred easily in solidarity movements, as in recent protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline, where indigenous people supported by (inter)national groups claimed their spiritual as well as political rights as First Nations.

How are these solidarity rituals and actions shaped materially? What are, in the parlance of Birgit Meyer, its ‘sensational forms,’ ways in which visual, aural, and other aesthetic forms are used to speak truth to power, or, as in authoritarian forms of solidarity, to transform power into truth? And, how is solidarity part and parcel of governmental policies of international relevance, on global warming for instance, and of national projects that transform the roles of state and society. An example of the latter is the new ideology of a Dutch ‘participation society’ – announcing the end of the 20th century welfare state – in which people are supposed to take care of each other and as such to take over several ‘welfare functions’ of the state.

In addition, studying solidarity raises questions about anthropologists’ relations to activists and vice versa. How does solidarity between anthropologists and activists work, and what are its consequences for anthropological practice? What are the limits of and the dilemmas that attend solidarity and of solidarity research? We welcome self-critical articles that, for instance, scrutinize Euro-American anthropological prioritizations of some political struggles over others.  What do such prioritizations say about solidarity and about anthropology?

The editors of ETNOFOOR are interested in ethnographic articles addressing these issues, but also welcome theoretical, reflective and methodological explorations related to solidarity research, or papers that result from collaborations between anthropologists and actors involved in solidarity movements outside academia. We invite authors to submit an abstract of no more than 200 words to editors@etnofoor.nl before April 1st, 2017. The deadline for authors of accepted abstracts to submit their full paper for consideration is June 15th, 2017.


Arendt, Hannah. 1972 [1969]. Crises of the Republic. San Diego, New York, and London: Harcourt Brace & Company.

Durkheim, Emile. 2008 [1912]. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Trans. Carol Cosman, ed. Mark S. Cladis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Meyer, Birgit. 2012. Mediation and the Genesis of Presence. Towards a Material Approach to Religion. Inaugural Lecture, Utrecht University.

Last call for papers: The Lives and Afterlives of Plastic

FINAL Call for papers

The Lives and Afterlives of Plastic: A nearly carbon-neutral conference

June 26th – July 14th 2017


We are proud to announce the following internationally acclaimed keynotes:

Richard C. Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology, Plymouth University

Gay Hawkins, Professor of Cultural Studies, Western Sydney University

Ian C. Shaw, Professor of Toxicology, University of Canterbury

More plastic was produced in the past decade than during the entire 20th century. We currently produce over 300 million tonnes of plastic each year. We have built a world in which we are reliant on plastic for our medical health and everyday functioning, and yet we are also coming to realise that the global explosion of plastic has a dark side. Currently, only 14% of the hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic we produce annually is recycled.  As a result, vast amounts of plastic currently accumulate within oceanic gyres, landfills, and other environments, leading to the dire prediction that there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans by 2050.  The production of plastic is a significant driver of fossil fuel consumption, with approximately 8% of global oil production dedicated to the production of plastics.  A growing body of research is revealing how endocrine disrupting chemicals and microplastics in aquatic ecosystems are impacting fauna and food safety in often unpredictable ways.  The production, consumption, and accumulation of plastic also raises ethical questions associated with health, pollution, and inequality. 500 billion single-use plastic bags are consumed annually around the world.  28,500 tonnes of expanded polystyrene (EPS) was produced in 2014, 90% of which was used to make single-use products.  The bulk of single-use EPS waste is not recycled. The sheer volume of single-use plastics produced and consumed globally is emblematic of the planned obsolescence that characterises linear economies.  

The complexities inherent in the ways in which plastic is produced, consumed, and discarded are never purely material, social, nor stable. As such, addressing the social and environmental issues surrounding plastic requires an interdisciplinary focus that crosses the traditional divisions between the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.  This nearly-carbon neutral conference aims to encourage presentations that articulate the value and challenges constitutive of such interdisciplinary collaborations.

We welcome contributors who hail from a broad range of disciplines: marine and freshwater ecologists, artists, engineers, anthropologists, green chemists, environmental psychologists, designers, toxicologists, sociologists, endocrinologists, zoologists, geographers, environmental managers, development practitioners, biologists, economists, media and communications experts, and environmental activists to name a few. 

The conference organisers envisage that contributions will cover a similarly broad range of plastic-related themes including, but not limited to, the following:

Aquatic ecologies

Policy and legislation

Food packaging and labelling

Zero waste and the circular economy

Green chemistry

Human and non-human health

E-waste plastics

Political ecologies

New materialism

Environmental activism

A new plastic economy

Waste engineering

Cultures of waste

Citizen science

Testing protocols


Nearly carbon-neutral conference format

Traditional academic conferences are responsible for a considerable amount of carbon emissions, as presenters fly from around the world to present in a single location. This also incurs significant financial costs, which often precludes researchers from developing countries and postgraduate students from attending. The Environmental Humanities Initiative at UC Santa Barbara estimated that running an online conference reduces the carbon footprint of a conference by 99%.

This conference will take place entirely online from 26 June-14 July, 2017.  Contributors will not have to travel anywhere and there is no registration fee. Conference presentations will consist of material that can be submitted online as a video file. This could take the form of a webcam recording, an edited video, a PowerPoint or Prezi with recorded audio or another form of video.  Each presentation should be no more than 20 minutes long.  Simple, user-friendly instructions on creating and submitting presentations for the conference will be provided on acceptance of abstracts.

One of the key aims of this conference is to facilitate interdisciplinary networking opportunities that will provide further support and context to attendees’ current and future plastic-related research projects.  One way of facilitating these networks is by providing presenters and registered attendees with ample opportunities for Q&A following each panel.  The Environmental Humanities Initiative white paper showed that presenters and attendees at their carbon-neutral conference were provided with many more opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback than most traditional conferences.  Contributor profiles with research interests, expertise, and contact details will be made available to registered attendees.  The conference organisers hope that attendees will identify synergies across profiles and presentations and will contact individuals to determine the potential for research collaborations. 

Abstract deadline and details

If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please send a 250 word abstract with your name, e-mail address, and affiliation to PERC@massey.ac.nz by 20 February, 2017.  

After the conference, some contributors will be invited to develop their presentations for publication in an edited volume.  Preference for publication in the edited volume will be given to papers presenting research collaborations between arts/social science researchers and fundamental/natural scientists.  We hope some of these research collaborations will emerge out of the conference.  

Conference Organisers

Drs Trisia Farrelly & Sy Taffel

Co-Directors, Political Ecology Research Centre (PERC), Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Co-founder, Environmental lobby group, Carrying Our Future