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In 1990, when the first EASA conference convened in Portugal (Coimbra), under the banner “Anthropology and Europe”, young anthropologists from Western and Eastern Europe, coming together for the first time, celebrated the end of the Cold War. New links were being forged between European universities and national communities of researchers. 

And there was hope that Europe – east and west, north and south – would be, at last, democratic, dynamic, outward-looking, and a bastion of civil rights.

Thirty years on, the mood is, politically at least, very different. On the negative side, civil rights are under threat. Public services and education are being cut back. Nationalism is on the rise again, and, with it, xenophobia.  Ethnic frontiers, class barriers, religious boundaries are being strengthened. Many people feel excluded, anxious, angry. On the more positive side, new rights have been secured in many places (e.g. same sex marriage), social mobility has become easier, sensitivity towards many forms of difference has increased. Through it all over those thirty years, anthropologists have been there, focusing on how people across the world have been experiencing, creating and reacting to these changes.   

Coming together once again in Portugal, the EASA conference will consider such social, political, material and cultural currents in and beyond Europe, covering both the academic and ethnographic locations in which anthropologists work, in order to consider the ethical, political and intellectual challenges to anthropology that they pose. From its inception, EASA has been committed to a global, cosmopolitan anthropology. Our ethnography is informed by what Lévi-Strauss called “the view from afar,” which has always been both next door and on the other side of the planet. We are all comparativists, wherever we work and whatever we study. In 2020, we should continue that habit of looking beyond our own parochial concerns to those broader horizons. 

We welcome contributions addressing many of the issues draw on this anthropological habit of critically assessing issues, concepts, practices, relations, separations and presumptions in and beyond Europe, such as:

Now read the Call for panels >>