Spring Conference | April 4-6, 2024 | University of Pittsburgh

AES APLA Spring Conference 2024In the face of compounding harms—mass extinctions, settler-colonial dispossession, gentrification, displacement—what does it mean to repair the historic legacies of damage and harm? What does it demand of individuals, communities, or states? How might studies of possibility or hope be enhanced through an attention to actually existing practices of repair? How can the tools of anthropology be used to amplify the demands coming from historically disadvantaged communities? Such questions call for anthropology to link the radical imagination to present struggles. At the same time, as scholarship on abolition, revolution, and refusal highlight, it is also important to document unfixable situations, times in which repair does more harm than good, or instances in which people find it more ethical to abandon or refuse.

The 2024 AES/APLA spring conference invites scholars to grapple with the complexities and possibilities of repair in the contexts of the people and sites with and in which they work. How does (or doesn’t) repair take shape in communities or for your interlocutors? What kinds of solidarities and futures does repair potentiate? What do discourses of “repair” close down? Who decides what constitutes repair, who has access to it, and who does the work? Is repair enough? What does it look like to stand in solidarity? What does anthropology need to be doing today in this moment of ecological/political/fiscal crisis? How can anthropology take the lead from interlocutors moving into spaces that are uncomfortable or that might take great risk? Possible intersections include: care (and care in trouble), placemaking after dispossession, healing and harm, engagement and refusal, resistance and complicity, hope and loss, systemic violence. We particularly invite conversations that cross-cut subfields and interests in the areas of: Anthropocene studies & more-than-human worlds; embodiment and health; (dis)ability and crip theory; political economy of urban space and containment; justice & abolition; Black futures; Indigenous cosmopolitics; labor and other solidarities.

The in-person conference will be located at the University of Pittsburgh, the ancestral lands of many Indigenous peoples, including the Seneca Nation. As recently as 1960, one-third of the Seneca’s ancestral lands were taken by the U.S. government to create the Kinzua Dam northeast of the city. We thus gather under the shadow of dispossession and acknowledge the presence and ongoing contributions of Indigenous Peoples to the Pittsburgh region. Amid widespread deindustrialization and abandonment, a decaying steel-coal complex continues to pollute while a frenzy of “fracking” draws petrochemical megaprojects to the region. Once termed “hell with the lid off,” Pittsburgh’s “Eds & Meds” revitalization has harmed many communities, especially Black, Brown and working poor people, who continue to experience displacement through gentrification and respiratory illnesses disproportionately. Taking repair as our cue, however, this conference is also situated in a key site of early and contemporary labor movements, environmental justice activism, community gardening to resist food deserts, and other practices of reparative solidarity. In gathering in Pittsburgh, then, we hope to bring together scholars and activists to think about repair in the face of layered harms.

We have confirmed as a keynote speaker Jovan Scott Lewis (UC Berkeley), and are planning professionalization/publishing workshops, plenary sessions, and exciting community-facing activities. Please consider attending!

Registration and paper/panel submissions

Registration: Participants should register for the conference *before* submitting their paper/panel. Acceptance rates are high. Anyone with a submission that is not accepted may request a refund of the registration fee. The registration portal can be found here.

Paper/panel Submissions: Participants can make their submissions when they register, or finish the process later. For your reference, the paper/panel submission can be found here, as well as via the confirmation email you will receive after registering. The deadline for paper/panel submission is Feb 5, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

When you submit your paper/panel, depending on your session type, you will need to provide some or all of the following information:

  • Submitter’s Name
  • Submitter’s Email Address
  • Session Type (panel, roundtable, flash ethnography session, individual flash ethnography submission, and individual paper submission)
  • Submission/Session Title
  • Submission/Session Abstract (2000 characters or less)
  • Primary Review Section
  • Secondary Review Section
  • Organizer’s Name
  • Organizer’s Email Address
  • Speaking Participants (Presenters or Discussants; up to five maximum for panel, up to 7 maximum for roundtable or flash ethnography)
  • Title and Abstract (up to 2000 characters) for each Presenter (none needed for discussants or roundtables)

Hotel information

AAA has secured a block of hotel rooms at The Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place (special AAA rate of $119/night), Hampton Inn Pittsburgh University/Medical Center (special AAA rate of $149/night), and the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center (special AAA rate of $159/night). The special AAA rates will be available until March 8th. To make your reservation and secure this discounted rate, please use the links above. You can also find a phone number via each link; if you call be sure to mention you are with the American Anthropological Association. Rooms may sell out prior to the deadline so please make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure availability.

Travel information

The nearest airport to University of Pittsburgh is the Pittsburgh International Airport. It is 22 miles from the Oakland neighborhood where the university is located. The 28x, a public bus, runs between the airport and Oakland regularly and costs $2.75. 


Tomas Matza (AES, AES.APLA2024@gmail.com

Heath Cabot (APLA, AES.APLA2024@gmail.com)