SPA Biennial Meetings 2011

SPA Biennial Meeting 2011

Subjects and their Milieux in Late Modernity: The Relevance of Psychological Anthropology to Contemporary Problems and Issues


Santa Monica, CA
March 31-April 3, 2011

In this conference, we continue to innovate within psychological anthropology and reach across subdisciplinary and disciplinary boundaries to explore new areas of practice and theory for the second decade of the 21st century. Psychological anthropology is the subdiscipline best positioned intellectually and empirically to detail both how large social forces influence individuals and how subjective experience and interpersonal dynamics can transform social institutions. We will focus especially on the relevance of psychological anthropology to problems and issues in the contemporary world–from changing families, workplaces and local communities to religious groups, professions, and transnational institutions like consumer capitalism, world religions, and NGOs. We are excited to see how participants approach data across scales of analysis to reveal the ways in which psychological anthropology can enrich approaches to questions that have traditionally been outside of or peripheral to the concerns of the subdiscipline.

Examples of possible panels and papers are ones on child and adolescent development; overlaps between psychological and medical anthropology; transforming perspectives on family, gender, and sexuality; memory and trauma; narrative and identity in institutional contexts; and rethinking theories and research strategies to explore new forms of communication, communities, and being alone. Historical, reflective, applied, and paradigm-building panels and papers are welcome as well.

In addition to panels and discussion groups, we will also schedule several plenary sessions and coffee breaks that will bring our group together as a whole and facilitate more informal conversation and networking. Professor Gananath Obeyesekere has been invited to give one of the plenary talks and to receive a lifetime achievement award. There will also be a reception/banquet on Friday, April 1 to present awards to authors of prize-winning books and papers and to honor Robert Lemelson for his generous, personal gifts to the SPA. Rob is also planning to host a party for all attendees on Saturday, April 2.

Panel, Discussion Group, and Paper Submissions

The deadline for submitting panel and paper proposals is December 1, 2010, but earlier submissions are highly welcome. Both individual papers (15 minutes) and full panels (1 hour and 45 minutes) are welcome. Younger scholars are particularly encouraged to suggest panel, paper, or discussion group topics. Abstracts are required for individually submitted papers, for panels, and for each paper on a panel (panel abstract and abstracts for the papers on the panel should be submitted together) and no abstract should be longer than 250 words. Each participant is allowed to have two formal roles: to give a paper, and to be a discussant. However, we encourage the submission of less formal sessions as well. In these less formal sessions, participation does not count against the two-role rule. A discussion session can be formed by listing people who will speak for no more than five minutes, and then opening up the floor to general discussion. In this case, the session requires a session abstract but no abstracts from participants. A workshop is a focused discussion around a practical theme: for example, publication venues, team ethnography, specific methods, etc. Again, the workshop format presumes that papers are not given and the primary focus is discussion. A workshop requires a workshop abstract, but no abstracts from participants. Film and poster proposals are also welcome. Please submit proposals to the program chair, Rebecca Lester (


Registration costs for the meeting are $90 for professionals and $40 for students. (Students should state their graduate program). Registration can be done through the SPA website or on site. NOTE: in years past, participants have sometimes forgotten to register. This is costly to the organization. Your registration fee covers the cost of room rental, LCD rental, coffee, tea and cookies during the meeting. This year, your registration will fee will also help cover the cost of transportation to the Lemelson party. Participants will not be able to gain access to their rooms unless they have registered for the meeting.

The Conference Hotel and Venue

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica. The Delfina is a smaller hotel situated in the heart of Santa Monica, within easy walking distance of numerous restaurants and bars on 3rd Street and Main St. and providing easy access to the airport, the Getty Center, the Getty Villa, UCLA and the Fowler Museum, the Santa Monica mountains, and much more. Almost all of our sessions and events will be held on the top floor of the Delfina, providing spectacular views of Santa Monica beach, pier, and mountains. Single/double rooms are $179.00, and the hotel has a generous policy for triple and quadruple occupancy. Nearly every room has its own balcony and view of the beach.