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2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)

March 19-23, 2019

Change and adaptation to change have always been at the core of anthropology and related applied social sciences. Regardless of the subject, approach, or location, at the center of our inquiry and practice is a fundamental interest in understanding the processes, directions, and consequences of change. The content, pace, and process of change today are staggering in their breadth, diversity, uncertainty, and impacts. The communities where we live and work may be experiencing pronounced uncertainty, isolationism, extremism, trauma and violence, and racial and ethnic tensions. Skepticism is on the rise, along with fear, particularly of others. We recognize the need for more civil dialogue yet struggle to create sustainable and meaningful civic engagement with those with whom we differ. Economic livelihoods and environmental sustainability are in jeopardy. Our trust in elected officials has eroded, and many have lost confidence in our political institutions. These are truly turbulent times.  

What do these turbulent times mean for applied social scientists and anthropologists? How do these times challenge the foundational assumptions and debates within the applied social sciences? Are current political, cultural, economic, health, racial, immigration and environmental discourses and practices combining to create new levels and forms of change, and how are we responding through research, practice, and advocacy? How do we integrate a holistic understanding of these turbulent times into our teaching and training of future generations of applied social scientists?   

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Portland, Oregon, provides an ideal venue for applied social scientists to reflect on the challenges we face in these turbulent times, and to identify opportunities to positively affect future outcomes. The city of Portland has a long history of change, through which it has created a culture that embraces its differences and supports creative enterprises spanning the arts, sciences, and technologies. The 2019 program will include themes related to Portland and Cascadia (Northern California to British Columbia). The first day of the meeting (Tuesday) will be a local-regional day (Portland and Cascadia) with sessions, films, speakers, exhibits, and social events designed to promote SfAA engagement with pressing local and regional concerns. People and organizations from Portland and the surrounding region will be involved in planning the meetings and encouraged to participate. Every effort will be made to invite the participation of international scholars and practitioners. 

Program Chair: Michael Paolisso, University of Maryland, email 301-405-1433

Annual Meeting Program Coordinator: Don Stull email 785-764-8967

Society for Applied Anthropology email 405-843-5113