ASA18 Events and meetings
Uganda Stories, by Sunil Shah (
Special Exhibition Gallery, Pitt Rivers Museum)
17 February - 23 September 2018
In this photography exhibition, Shah explores very personal themes linked to his family's roots and heritage as Ugandan Asians, and offers wider narratives around exile, displacement and dispossession. In 1972 Idi Amin expelled 80,000 Asians from Uganda. Shah was three years old when his family were made refugees and forced to endure an unexpected journey, leaving their lives and possessions behind and move to the UK. Shah investigates the past and extracts fragments, narratives and meanings to re-imagine his own family's tale. The exhibition also alludes to the fading of memories, the blind-spots in representing history and to the legacies of colonialism.
Performing Tibetan Identities: Photographic Portraits by Nyema Droma (In the Court and Clore Balcony of the Pitt Rivers Museum)
September 2018 – May 2019
This innovative exhibition features stunning contemporary images made by the Tibetan photographer, Nyema Droma. Taking inspiration from the historic collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, she has created portraits of other young Tibetans that celebrate their experiences and challenge stereotypes. The exhibit includes an installation in the heart of the museum, as well as film and digital displays which explore the interplay between past and present, diaspora and homeland, the local and the global, in Tibetan identity formation.
During the ASA18 conference, the first phase of this exhibition will be on view. The full exhibition officially opens on 13th October 2018.
Diversifying Portraiture in Anthropology, curated by Helen Worrell (Examination Schools)
The Tylor Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries, currently has busts of Evans-Pritchard, Frazer, and Godfrey Lienhardt. Whilst their contribution to the discipline remains invaluable, the Library is keen to showcase anthropologists from communities that have been historically under-represented, for example people of colour, women, LGBTQ+ communities. Staff and students in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography were invited to nominate an anthropologist who has inspired them from communities currently under-represented and to submit a statement explaining the importance of the chosen anthropologist to them and/or the discipline. This exhibition showcases these anthropologists. After the conference the portraits will be displayed in the School and the Tylor Library thus ensuring their lasting impact. Further information at https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/anthropology/diversifying_portraiture
The Legend of Ponnivala Nadu, by Brenda Beck (Examination Schools)
People resident in a unique geographic area sometimes develop what can be called a KEYSTONE story. This term can be used to describe a major legend that knits together history, social values, mythical themes, heroic acts and more, in a way that creates a lasting tapestry of linked scenes. Such keystone stories help to define a culture’s very essence. Keystone stories are widely recognized, are referenced in popular culture and are usually celebrated by repeated ritual events or festivals as well. This exhibition uses seven labeled panels (Roots, Reclamation, Resistence, Resilience, Relationships, Reflection and Revelation) to express the core story ideas connected to a specific Tamil Keystone legend known throughout the Kongu Nadu of Tamilnadu. In Lab #2 the social anthropologist who collected this 38 hour oral epic back in 1965 will discuss its significance and invite debate about various techniques of story-sharing available to researchers who want to “give-back” some of what they have learned from years of extensive fieldwork. In this particular case the Legend of Ponnivala Nadu is now being shared successfully with Indian émigrés living in the North American Diaspora. Retelling experiments have also been undertaken in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, as well as in the original fieldwork region of Kongu Nadu.
Tuesday 18th September
13:30-15:00 Film screening: With This Ring, director-producers Ameesha Joshi and Anna Sarkissian (
Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre)
2016, 90 minutes
Filmed over the course of six years, With This Ring follows the meteoric rise of three Indian women who sidestep traditional roles to become world champion boxers. Worried that boxing will disfigure their faces and hurt their chances of getting married, their parents are reluctant to embrace their chosen careers. Facing pressure to conform, Mary, Sarita and Chhoto test boundaries as they become the primary wage earners in their families. While the team dominates at world championships, they continue to train in oblivion in India. Boxing becomes their lifeline, their source of income, their community, and ultimately what rips them apart. www.withthisringfilm.com.
19:00-21:00 Welcome reception (Pitt Rivers Museum)
The Pitt Rivers Museum museum has an important and longstanding connection with anthropology in Oxford – it was founded in 1884 by Lt-General Augustus Pitt Rivers, who donated his collection to the University of Oxford with the condition that a permanent lecturer in anthropology must be appointed. Museum staff are involved in teaching Archaeology and Anthropology at the University even today as well as research. The organisers of ASA18 would like to invite all delegates to celebrate the start of the conference with some wine and snacks and to look around in the extraordinary museum.
Wednesday 19th September
12:45-14:15 Heads of Departments (HODs) meeting (Examination Schools, Room 13)
ASA invites the Heads of Departments and their representatives to this annual meeting. All those planning to attend should notify the organisers by email to secretary(at)theasa.org
13:00-14:15 APPLY network meeting (Examination Schools Room 12)
The APPLY network is for all those seeking to use anthropological theory and practice to applied ends, both inside and outside the academy. Recognising the wide range of contexts in which anthropology is practised, and the diverse conditions and constraints under which practising anthropologists work, we aim to explore ways in which the network can best reach its constituency and support anthropologists working in applied fields. Please join us in discussing proposals for taking the network forward.
13:00-14:15 #MeTooAnthro: Supporting students in the field (Examination Schools, East School)
Anthropologists face unique working conditions - both inside and outside the university - that increase our exposure to the risk of sexual assault and harassment. However, this potential for sexual assault, harassment, and gender-based violence to occur in the field can go unacknowledged in pre-fieldwork planning for anthropology students and researchers. Gendered travel advice is too often well-meaning, but not conducive to nuanced and explorative ethnographic enquiry (Williams 2009). This seminar, developed by the MeTooAnthro collective, provides teaching and mentoring tools for faculty and students to address these issues prior to entering the field. This training program is intended to complement an online resource with country-specific information (including where to report sexual violence, dealing with authorities, the existence of local support systems), as well as mentor networks to support young scholars in specific field sites. In particular, we aim to ensure that all resources and training programs produced address the intersections between gender, ethnicity, and sexuality, and are accessible to as many as possible.
MeTooAnthro invites feedback on this training program prior to its distribution, whilst the session will allow participants to engage with the training materials directly. Contact: metooanthro(at)gmail.com.
16:15-17:45 Film screening: Nightfall on Gaia, director Juan Francisco Salazar (Western Sydney University) (Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre)
2015, 92 minutes
In April 2043, astrobiologist Xue Noon [Victoria Hunt] finds herself stranded in the GAIA International Antarctic Station. As the polar night closes in, she connects herself to the Ai-system. She scavenges digital memories and archives of the time she spent at King George Island with her father back in 2015. She struggles between her scientist mind and her Indigenous soul. She looks for old friends, places, atmospheres, only to find herself again. Nightfall on Gaia is a speculative documentary that depicts the lives and visions of human communities living transiently in the Antarctic Peninsula. Grounded in ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Antarctica between 2011 and 2014, the film is an experimental meditation on the future of the Antarctic as a new extreme frontier for human habitation, exposing the complexities of a fragile planet at the verge of ecological collapse, our relationship to the Ice, and the uncertain future for the region.
Thursday 20th September
13:00-14:15 ASA’s Annual General Meeting (Examination Schools, South School)
All members of the ASA are invited to attend the association’s AGM. Come and have your say in ASA business. Those attending this meeting will be given priority in the lunch queue so as to manage lunch before the meeting begins. Download the agenda [PDF]..
14:15-15:45 Film screening: The block/Blocul, director Maria Salaru (Durham University) (Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre)
2016, 60 minutes
From neighbourly disputes over garlic-heavy cooking to memories of Ceaușescu’s heatless winters, this film explores the rich social and material universe of a Romanian apartment building. It follows the story of the block’s administrator, in his effort to mediate relationships between neighbours and maintain peace and order. In doing so, it captures the rich nuances of the inhabitants’ everyday lives. The block comes to life, as its inhabitants constantly reshape it to defy the passing of time, while its failing infrastructure encroaches on their neighbourly relations. This is a film about people’s homes, and the spaces in between. In those spaces, the pipes don’t only carry hot water – they carry meanings from one inhabitant to the next.
18:15-18:45 Book launch of Tim Ingold's Anthropology: Why it Matters. Keble bar (Dining Hall of Keble College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PG)
Polity will be launching Tim's latest book, in the college bar before the dinner. All are welcome.
19:00-21:00 Conference dinner (Dining Hall of Keble College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PG)
The conference gala dinner is an extra, booked at the time of registration. The dinner will be held in the magnificent Victorian Gothic Dining Hall of Keble College, and includes excellent food and wine. The menu is as follows:
- Marinated Beetroot Carpaccio with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts
- Supreme of Roast Guinea Fowl with Duaphinoise Potatoes, Green beans, Red Pepper Coulis and Balsamic Reduction
- (Vegetarian option) Timbale of Mushroom filled with Vegetable and Herb Risotto, Sun Blushed Tomato Coulis, Aubergine Caviar and Root Vegetables
- Summer Pudding with Strawberries and Chantilly Cream
N.B. As the ASA has paid for all dinner tickets before the conference begins, we cannot reimburse unwanted tickets.
21:00-23:00 Conference dance in Keble bar (Dining Hall of Keble College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PG)
This party is free for all delegates – come and join us for a few hours of dancing to celebrate the conference!