ASA2021. Online, 29 March - 1 April 2021
Online, 29 March - 1 April 2021
Welcome from the Chair of the ASA
Welcome to the ASA conference for 2021, ‘Responsibility’, hosted by the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews.
For the second time in our history, we are holding the conference entirely online, but whereas the ASA2020 conference was a one-day, single-panel event, ASA2021 is a full international multi-panel conference, and is an online version of the event that was originally planned for 2020. Perhaps even more than when the conference theme was first conceived, the question of responsibility is high on the global agenda. We are all now living with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of its medical consequences for some, and the political and social consequences for many. Covid comes on top of existing concerns, of course, where questions of responsibility have been raised, not least in relation to climate change, racism, inequality, environmental destruction and more. Reaching across 6 key themes, this conference brings together many key questions for today, and we should be bold in communicating the significance of what anthropologists have to say, not only amongst ourselves, but out into the world.
The ASA has represented the interests of professional social anthropologists since 1946, including those employed in academia, industry, commerce, in the voluntary sector or wherever they are working. As a professional association entirely funded by membership subscriptions and publications and run by elected volunteers, the ASA has an important role in defending and promoting the work of social anthropologists. The annual conference is our opportunity to share ideas, exchange news, and enliven the intellectual and practical debates about our discipline. Now, more than ever, organisations like the ASA have a crucial role in helping all of our members across the discipline to face the challenges confronting the world today.
I look forward to inspiring and important discussions in the next few days. As we all gradually get used to holding our discussions online, we welcome the opportunity it offers us to widen access and reduce the carbon footprint of our work. Although we will miss the occasion to socialise in person, the conference remains a high point of our year, one that will be marked with the publication of an annual ASA monograph in due course.
On behalf of the ASA committee, I would like to thank the local organising committee not only for putting together an outstanding programme, but for dealing with the uncertainties of 2020 and ensuring that the conference could run as ASA2021. Thank you to the lead convenors for managing difficult choices and changing circumstances so smoothly and professionally: Dr Melissa Demian, Dr Christos Lynteris & Dr Mattia Fumanti, and to the local committee: Professor Mark Harris, Dr Huon Wardle, Dr Melissa Demian, Dr Mattia Fumanti, Dr Christos Lynteris, Professor Nigel Rapport and Dr Stavroula Pipyrou. Thank you to the conference administrators, NomadIT, and the conference managers at the University of St Andrews. Finally, I would like to thank the guest speakers for staying with the programme through the rescheduling. We look forward to a warm and welcoming online conference.