AES 2019: Ethnographic Futures

March 14-16, 2019
St. Louis, MO

The AES 2019 spring conference will be co-sponsored by Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists (ALLA) and Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA). It will be held at Washington University in St Louis (MO) from Thursday, March 14th to Saturday, March 16th.

Ethnographic Futures

We are not in normal times. At least according to some. For others, the perverse assaults against bodies, land, science, and justice have merely become more visible and contestable. At a minimum, people around the world and in the United States are experiencing uncertainty, violations, and anxieties. How are anthropologists strategically positioned to reflect on and theorize this uncertainty and ab-normalcy while bringing to the foreground local articulations of hope, emancipatory politics, and meaning-making? For our Spring 2019 meeting, we invite anthropologists and other scholars and activists to join the American Ethnological Society (AES), the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists (ALLA), and the Association for Black Anthropologists (ABA) in St. Louis to consider possible unfoldings of the future in specific locales, worlds, and lifeways. Five years after protests in Ferguson around racialized police brutality, Ethnographic Futures will convene in nearby St. Louis to explore how people with whom we study and collaborate imagine, create, participate, and refuse. This includes possibilities for mobilizing and challenging dominant structures but also the quotidian practices of caring, laboring, and celebrating. As some blur lines between the academy and activism, while others push back on disruptions of traditional geographic and disciplinary boundaries, we invite reflections on the future and the ethnographic. Both a method of knowing and a practice of representation (texts, photography, documentaries, teaching), ethnography is itself part of and a challenge to certain futures.

Questions? Contact

Sign up to receive conference updates via email:

Conference Registration

Registration remains open until the final day of the conference. Register HERE.
Graduate (and undergraduate) students! We have a deal for you. AES membership is free if you sign up between now and March 17, 2019. This would normally be $12, but it’s free for a whole year. It also will get you a $5 discount on the AES/ALLA/ABA spring meeting registration because you can register for at student “member" rate ($40) rather than the student "non-member" rate ($45). To access this deal, do the following:

  • Become an AES member. Enter the code AES19 at the checkout on the join/renew form.
  • Then register for the AES/ALLA/ABA 2019 spring conference HERE at the subsidized student member rate.


The final deadline for all submissions will be Monday, January 28, 2019 (3 pm ET).
Decisions will be announced by Friday, February 8, 2019.

Rates Advance Onsite
Non-Student, Member Price $140 $145
Non-Student, Nonmember Price $155 $160
Student, Member Price (use code "AES19" to get a free membership to AES) $40 $45
Student, Nonmember Price $45 $50

Call for Proposals

Call for Paper Abstracts for Proposed Panels

View proposed panels seeking paper abstract submissions HERE.

Abstract Submissions for Panels, Individual Papers, and Roundtables

AES, ALLA, and ABA invite proposals for individual papers, organized paper panels, and roundtables for our joint Spring 2019 Conference. Word limit for abstracts: paper up to 250 words; Session/panel up to 500 words. Submit HERE.

When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to either (a) provide your own theme(s), or (b) select from the list of pre-determined themes provided by the program committee. These themes will be used during the review and scheduling processes to reduce content overlap. If your submission does not align within one of the themes, you may select "other" and provide your theme(s) as written responses.

Pre-determined Themes:
Theorizing the Future
Methodology: Innovations, Conundrums & Engagement
Violence, Trauma & Resistance
Citizenship & Belonging
Debt & Repayments
Queer & Other Intimate Imaginings
Sanctuary & Refuge
Migration, Mobility & Borders
The State, Surveillance & In/Exclusions
Race, Ethnicity & Class Formations
Gendered Spaces & Subversions
Embodiment & the Body
Emancipatory Politics & Solidarity
Urban Futures
Health, Healing, and Ethics
Environmental Justice
Labor & Work
Consumption & Desire
Others proposed by submitters

The submissions portal closes Monday, January 28, 2019 (3pm ET).

Hotel Reservations

The Charles F. Knight Conference Center
Throop Drive & Snow Way Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

Reserve your room by calling 314-933-9400 or 866-933-9400 and ask for the “American Ethnological Conference” rate. The deadline for making room reservations at the special AAA rate of $119 S/D/T is Wednesday, February 20, 2019. After that date, any reservations received will be subject to availability and may not be at the discounted group rate.

Additional Accommodation

The Moonrise Hotel
6177 Delmar in The Loop
St. Louis, MO 63112
Tel: (314) 721-1111

Additional rooms are available at the Moonrise at the special AAA rate of $154 S/D/T. These rooms will be held until Thursday, February 21, 2019. After that date, any reservations received will be subject to availability and may not be at the discounted group rate.

Make your reservations with the following options:

  • Call the hotel directly for in house reservations at 314-721-1111 and ask for the “AES/ALLA/ABA Joint Conference” rate.
  • Go to and filling in the appropriate reservation information on the left side of the opening screen. In the box labeled “Group Code” fill in your booking code, which is ANTHROPOLOGY2019 and the reservation will be made at your discounted rate.
  • Email the Moonrise Hotel reservations department at

Just for Graduate Students

Grad Student Networking & Solidarity Lunch

Friday March 15, 2019

Join a gathering for graduate students and undergraduates! Enjoy this low-key conference break! Network. Meet like-minded people. This is primarily a social gathering, but we can make space for sharing strategies and debriefing too. Lunch will be provided. Sign up here:

Graduate Student Happy Hour

Saturday March 16, 2019
Time & Location TBD

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary

Reflections on Ethnographic Futures and Possibilities
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Plenary Series

Troubling Ferguson: Emergent Futures and Afterlives of Death & Defiance in Divided Times and Spaces
Friday, March 15th and Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Featured Plenary Speakers

Ana Aparicio, Northwestern University
Gina Athena Ulysse, Wesleyan University
Marc Edelman, CUNY, Hunter College and Graduate Center
Sherine Hamdy, University of California, Irvine
Christopher Loperena, CUNY, Graduate Center
Laurence Ralph, Princeton University
Gilberto Rosas, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Krystal Smalls, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Alisse Waterston, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Bianca Williams, CUNY, Graduate Center

Preconference Workshops

Workshops require preregistration and a $20 deposit each, which will be refunded upon your confirmed attendance. Registration information forthcoming.

How to publish your first major journal article

American Ethnologist editor Niko Besnier illustrates the article manuscript publication process.

Radical Design: Exploring Alternative Futures in the Divided City

Explore St. Louis’ history of division through a tour of the urban landscape, and then create alternative futures in a hands-on studio activity.

"Humanities without Walls": Translating Anthropology to Careers Outside of Academia

Career coaches will share strategies about how to conceptualize fulfilling career paths for anthropologists outside of academia.

AES Student Diversity Travel Grant

The AES Student Diversity Travel Grants are intended to increase participation in AES's annual spring conference in St. Louis (March 14-16, 2019). Students are required to present a paper (application portal closes January 7, 2019).

Graduate students from historically underrepresented groups and those with disabilities are encouraged to apply for these travel grants to help defray costs associated with attending the AES conference.

Grants of up to $500 each will be awarded (in the form of reimbursement for travel, lodging, and/or meals, upon submission of receipts).

Travel Grant Applications are due by January 28, 2019.

Send to Please include your last name followed by "AES diversity" in the title of the attachment.

Please include the following with your application:

  • A completed cover sheet: [download here]
  • A brief CV (maximum 2 pages)
  • Letter of reference from a scholar or advisor who knows your work (maximum 2 pages). Please ask that the recommender submit the letter directly to by the deadline, January 7, 2019.

For questions, contact