The Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA) promotes discussion and shares information on diverse topics related to the anthropology of East Asia broadly conceived. We are committed to developing international channels of communication among anthropologists throughout the world who share an interest in East Asia both as a topic of academic inquiry and as a site of academic activity. Here, we highlight our activities over the past year and invite you to join our lively community online (through our website and listserv) and offline.
SEAA column series
Our monthly column for the Anthropology News website features curated series, bringing together scholars in the SEAA around a central theme. Our current series on “Digital Anthropologies in East Asia” examines how digital technologies impact the everyday lives of ordinary people and transform social relationships, labor structures, and youth culture. Previous themes include “Living through Waste and Waste as Lively,” which provided a critical understanding of China’s “trash crisis” and contributed to anthropological studies of the environment. The “In and Out of Japan” series examined mobility against the backdrop of Japan’s population decline. We welcome your proposals for individual articles and thematic series to feature in future columns.
SEAA regional conferences
Periodically SEAA brings together scholars for a dynamic regional conference, including Berkeley in 2004, Hong Kong in 2006, Taipei in 2009, and Seoul in 2011. Our 2016 conference was hosted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and included a diverse group of 160 participants from across East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America, who gave presentations on panels ranging from “Emerging Infrastructure of Immigration to China” to “Creative Human Reconstruction of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster” to “Confronting the ‘Grey Tsunami’” and “Ethics, Death and Beyond.” The keynote panel on “Overcoming the Gap between American Anthropology and East Asian Anthropologies” featured vigorous debate among leading scholars in the field on the cultural norms and structural challenges of academic knowledge production in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US. Ethnographic immersion in Hong Kong was a highlight of the
conference, including a walking tour of urban renewal and high density dynamics, a field trip to Po Lin Monastery, and dinner at Chungking Mansions (described by SEAA President Gordon Mathews in his 2011 ethnography Ghetto at the Center of the World as emblematic of “low-end globalization”). We invite proposals from potential hosts for our next independent regional conference in Asia.
SEAA holds professional development activities to nurture emerging scholars in our field, including yearly mentoring workshops and networking dinners at the AAA Annual Meetings. At our 2016 mentoring workshop in Minneapolis, Lisa Rofel, Eleana Kim, and Akihiro Ogawa met with SEAA graduate student members to discuss ways to connect anthropological research to political activism in the Trump era. Our 2017 mentoring workshop and networking dinner in Washington DC will continue to develop these themes; visit the SEAA website for updates.
SEAA is also organizing our first book publishing workshop at the 2017 Annual Meeting, featuring recent authors and acquisition editors from university presses at Cornell, Oxford, Princeton, and Stanford. Sign up at the AAA conference website to join us for a lively discussion on how to develop a compelling book proposal, find the right publisher, survive the review process, negotiate the contract, manage the production process, and market your book.
SEAA awards annual prizes for outstanding work in East Asian anthropology, including scholarly books, media productions, and graduate student papers. In 2016, SEAA awarded the Francis L.K. Hsu Book Prize to Jie Yang (Simon Fraser University) for her book Unknotting the Heart: Unemployment and Therapeutic Governance in China. Aya Domenig received the David Plath Media Award for her film The Day the Sun Fell (Als die Sonne vom Himmel fiel). The Theodore C. Bestor Prize for Outstanding Graduate Paper was awarded to Adam Liebman, a PhD candidate at the University of California Davis, for his paper “Waste-Product Trading and Colloquial Urban Sociality in Kunming, China.” Join us at the SEAA annual business meeting in DC to find out the winners of the 2017 SEAA prizes.
Contributing editors: Heidi K. Lam, Yale University ([email protected]), Priscilla Song, Washington University in St Louis ([email protected]), and Yi Zhou, University of California Davis ([email protected])