CFP AAA 2019: Global Stories from Storytellers and Anthropologists: How Storytelling Practice Intersects Contemporary Climates, Struggles, Collaborations, and Justice

Erin Gould's picture
Call for Papers
April 4, 2019
British Columbia, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Social Sciences, Languages, Cultural History / Studies


Global Stories from Storytellers and Anthropologists: How Storytelling Practice Intersects Contemporary Climates, Struggles, Collaborations, and Justice

Storytelling and narrative weaving are aspects of life that are shown to be culturally universal, although their media, aesthetics, politics, etc., vary widely. Stories, of course, are not straightforward records of history or products of individual imagination. Rather, even if originating long ago, they can be used to comment on and even manipulated contemporary situations, whether directly or indirectly. For some people around the globe, storytellers are those with recognized expertise, while other considerations of storytelling show the everyday aspects of this practice. Anthropologists have been instrumental in examining the influence of narratives on contemporary life; the examination of narratives and stories has been a significance area of anthropological thought since the times of Franz Boas, including work by Zora Neale Hurston and Gladys Reichard who experimented with narrative in their works in previously underappreciated ways (Abu-Lughod 1989; Basso 1996; Bauman 1977, 1986; Bauman and Briggs 2003; Boas and Hunt 1902; Hurston 1937; Reichard 1939; etc). Scholars examine “texts” broadly defined, including new trends in digital media which create intensified and multimodel cirations of stories for varying and contested ends. Anthropologists who study storytelling in the present conduct research projects entailing continuous navigation of  interpersonal collaborations, local and global struggles, and varied forms of justice seeking with collaborators, including navigation of issues such as women’s rights, youth inclusion and employment, and increasing discrimination of groups around the world.

How do anthropologists investigate different topics of anthropological or ethnographic significance concerning  the people in whose lives they are interested through the lens of storytelling? How are storytellers, anthropologists, and our creative stories navigating the looming negativity of how people across the globe envision one another? How are struggles portrayed, or alluded to, in storytelling, and how can these stories of struggle impact the frame through which  contemporary struggles are undertaken? In what ways does or can research on storytelling encourage new kinds of collaborations and problematize old groupings?

Building on the 2020 American Anthropological Association (AAA) meeting themes of climate, struggle, collaboration, and justice (in Vancouver, British Columbia), this panel will investigate how these broad themes intersect with research on storytelling, storytellers, and stories themselves from around the world. The emphasis in Anthropology on grounded theoretical research makes these themes significant to examine in conjunction with those we collaborate with in the field.


We seek panelists who are interested in becoming a part of the discussion about how storytelling around the world intersects, and impacts, people’s actions at the upcoming American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia from November 20-24, 2019. This panel encourages collaboration for presentations between panelists and collaborators (who may also be panelists) but is not absolutely required for consideration. Research conducted in any area of the world or through any theoretical framework will be considered if the abstract of up to 250 words demonstrates relation to the overall theme, describes methodology and data, and conveys the researcher’s conclusions. (If interested in the topic but wish to be a discussant or panel chair, please submit a statement of up to 250 words about your interest in adding to this discussion). For all submissions, please include a short (1 to 2 line) biography. All submissions of abstracts and statements should be sent to by April 4th, 2019 by 5:00 pm EST (USA).

We will notify all interested of the status of their participation by April 5th, 2019, which will give time to submit through the online portal linked through the AAA website (it is necessary to start an entry into the AAA system by April 5th, 2019 by 3:00 pm EST (USA), but the deadline for finalized submissions is April 10th, 2019).

Please follow the link here to see the call for papers on the American Anthropological Website:

In order to be considered and finalize a contribution to the panel or the annual meeting in general, you must be a member of the AAA or the collaborating partner, The Canadian Anthropological Society (CASCA). To be considered, you must open a new entry for submission from the registration website by April 5th at 3:00 pm EST (USA).  For more information and to start a new submission by April 5th, see the registration website:

Erin Gould is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on young storytellers in Marrakech, Morocco, and how these youth are enacting transformation to storytelling practices in the city.

Contact Info: 

Erin Gould, PhD Candidate at UC Riverside


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