AES 2019: Ethnographic Futures

March 14-16, 2019
St. Louis, MO

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.

2019 Conference Chair: Shanti Parikh (Washington University in St. Louis and AES Councilor)

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.
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

Hotel Reservations

The Moonrise Hotel
6177 Delmar in The Loop
St. Louis, MO 63112
Tel: (314) 721-1111
Ask for the “AES/ALLA/ABA Joint Conference” rate

Rooms are available at the Moonrise Hotel 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

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.

Preconference Workshops

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Radical Design: Exploring Alternative Futures in the Divided City (bus tour, historic Griot Museum and hands-on design workshop)

Thursday, March 14 | 12:30 – 5:00 p.m. | $40 (non-refundable)
In this half-day workshop, explore St. Louis’ history of division through a tour of the urban landscape and visit to a historic museum. Then create alternative urban futures in a hands-on studio activity. Imagine the possibilities!

The Message and the Media: Advancing Your Mission through Communications

Thursday, March 14 | 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. | $20 (refundable with proof of attendance)
Convey your work in clear language that resonates with everyone--from the provost to the politician to the public at large. Distill your mission into a powerful statement. Master storytelling techniques. Conduct media interviews. Tweet effectively. Position yourself as a trusted expert.

How to publish your first major journal article

Thursday, March 14 | 12:30 – 2:00 p.m | $20 (refundable with proof of attendance)
American Ethnologist editor Niko Besnier illustrates the article manuscript publication process.

Preparing Your Tenure File & Navigating University Politics

Thursday, March 14 | 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. | $20 (refundable with proof of attendance)
This workshop is intended to demystify the tenure and promotion process and discuss the university system and how to navigate university politics.

Teaching in the Trumpocene

Thursday, March 14 | 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. | $20 (refundable with proof of attendance)
Anthropology offers important insights into the current political moment. But how do we effectively bring them into the classroom? In this workshop join master-teachers and anthropologists Ken Guest, Jong Bum Kwon, and Carole McGranahan for a focused discussion on teaching in the Trump era.

Workshops require preregistration, which will be refunded upon your confirmed attendance. Follow the steps below to add a special event to your existing AES/ALLA/ABA meeting registration:

  1. Log in to your Anthro Gateway account.
  2. Click Add WORKSHOP/EVENT (left side of page)
  3. Under the Meetings/Other Events header, find AES/ALLA/ABA meeting
  4. Click Add Workshops.
  5. When the workshops appear, proceed to checkout.
  6. Refundable workshops require confirmation of attendance. AAA will issue refunds after the meeting.

Writing Workshops

Friday, March 15, 2019

This year, AES offers a series of writing workshops for all interested spring meeting attendees. If you would like to attend one of the workshops, please sign up at the respective google form listed after each workshop below.

Rasanblaj Ethnography
Friday, March 15 | 10:00-11:45 a.m.
Gina Athena Ulysse (Wesleyan University)
Sign up:

Creative Ethnography – Comics and Fictional Forms
Friday, March 15 | 1:00-2:45 p.m.
Sherine F. Hamdy (University of California at Irvine)
Sign up:

Intimate Ethnography
Friday, March 15 | 3:00-4:45 p.m.
Alisse Waterston (John Jay College)
Sign up:

Full workshop information and registration available HERE.

Just for Graduate Students

Grad Student Networking 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 Post-Plenary Happy Hour

Friday, March 15, 2019
Time: After the Beyond Ferguson Plenary, around 9:00 p.m.
Location: Three Kings Public House in The Historic Delmar Loop

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary

Decolonizing American Anthropology: Ethnographic Futures & Possibilities
Thursday, March 14, 2019
4:30-5:30 p.m. Opening Meet & Greet and Welcome (with light snacks, welcome at 5:00pm)
5:30-7:00 p.m. Plenary, followed by Reception

Plenary Series

Troubling Ferguson & Beyond: Emergent Futures in the Afterlife of Death & Defiance in Divided Times
Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, 2019

  • Part I – Troubling States: Policing, Law, and Protest
    -- Friday, March 15, 2019, 5:30-7:00 p.m., followed by a Reception
  • Part II – Troubling Whiteness: Complicity, Fragility and Ethics
    -- Saturday, March 16, 1:30-3:00 p.m., followed by light snacks
  • Part III – Troubling Bodies: Motherhood, Masculinity, and Queer Dissent
    -- Saturday, March 16, 3:30-5:00 p.m., followed by Closing Reception

Featured Plenary Speakers

Ana Aparicio, Northwestern University
Riché Barnes, Yale University
Peter Benson, Washington University in St. Louis
Jong Bum Kwon, Webster University
Marc Edelman, CUNY, Hunter College and Graduate Center
Sherine Hamdy, University of California, Irvine
Odis Johnson, Washington University in St. Louis
Christopher Loperena, CUNY, Graduate Center
Jeffrey McCune, Washington University in St. Louis
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
Rhaisa Williams, Washington University in St. Louis

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.

Applications are now closed for the AES Student Diversity Travel Grant.