Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Students
Primary Theme: Materiality
Secondary Theme: Persistence
“Seasons change/There’s still time for us to run away/Seasons change/There’s still time to run away.” These are the opening lines to the track “Seasons” by Mozzy, Sjava, and Reason on the Black Panther soundtrack album. These lines, and the lyrics that follow, conceive and draw our attention to the push and pull of forces and temporalities that structure, connect, or emerge from cyclical changes. As part of the AAA 2018 meeting’s concern with “resistance, resilience, and adaptation,” this panel proposes to take such changes as an anthropological problem, examining various kinds of productive contradictions, disruptions, or interludes in the dynamic stasis of people, things, natures, and ideas. Through oral presentations and discussion, we are interested in exploring together the multiple ways intervals of waiting, hanging, loitering, or preparing-for play out empirically and anthropologically. We ask: How might anthropology grapple with the implications of temporalities such as those embodied through waiting, hanging, preparing? How might exploring the sociality of these activities challenge narratives that cast them in terms of idleness and unproductivity? Or, conversely, what rhythms or patterns become more apparent through attuning to entanglements between places, persons, natures, and expressions? Whether political, economic, meteorological, or sensuous in nature—or some combination—these seasons/disruptions/interludes tend to reveal something about the entangled processes by which nature, places, and persons are made-together. At times turbulent, at times dull, the resulting rhythms influence and generate multiple ways of being that influence and coexist with state narratives of idleness, freeloading, and unemployment. As such, the papers in this panel aim to challenge presumptions about stasis and/or crisis by, instead, providing ethnographic accounts of internal dynamisms at play. To do so, these papers will examine experiences of and approaches to waiting that include waiting for redress to chemical exposures in Alabama (Danielle Good), waiting for reunification in Roman squats (Carla Hung), “strategic waiting” in the Kurdish borderlands (Omer Ozcan), the textures of waiting under occupation in Kashmir (Marios Falaris), and waiting as an urban mode of attunement to the immanent in Uganda (Joella Bitter). By each drawing attention to conjunctions of the social, temporal, aesthetic, embodied, and material dynamics of waiting, we hope to generate through lines that amplify the entanglement of human and nonhuman temporalities and forces.