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Message posted on 23/03/2020

CfP AAA: Entangling data and entangling disciplines: the future of anthropological collaborations with data scientists

Good Morning

Could I pls ask to resend this as we are close to the deadline? Thanks, best
wishes Roberta

Dear Colleagues

This is a Call for Papers for the American Anthropological Association Annual
Meeting in St. Louis, MO, USA (November 18-22, 2020), for the following

Panel Title: Entangling data and entangling disciplines: the future of
anthropological collaborations with data scientists

Organizers: Roberta Raffaetà (Free University of Bolzano) and Giovanna
Santanera (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Discussant: Nick Seaver (Tufts University) and Katherine Ryan Amato
(Northwestern University)

This panel opens a discussion about forms of collaboration between
anthropologists and data scientists. Anthropologists have recently turned to
the study of data and algorithms, offering critical insights about their
production and implementation. They have addressed the effects of algorithmic
automation (e.g. increasing surveillance, inequality exacerbation, new forms
of discrimination) and conducted fieldwork among data scientists in order to
bring the socio-cultural dimensions of their work to the forefront. However,
these efforts rarely alter the practices of data science and the boundaries
between disciplines have remained durable. 

This panel asks: How can anthropology make an impact on data science? Can the
relationship between anthropology and data science be reconfigured? How can
anthropologists remain, as Marilyn Strathern has suggested, ‘a community of
critics’ while also engaging affirmatively with data scientists  and
interfering productively with their epistemic practices? Beyond understanding
the data scientist’s point of view and destabilizing our own disciplinary
habits and assumptions, this panel asks if there may be other ways to
collaborate. Is it possible, for example, to set up experiments that straddle
disciplinary boundaries and craft shared spaces of practice? How can we
facilitate the envisioning of productive, inclusive, just and diverse future

Practicing anthropology as a study with people rather than a study of people,
this panel welcomes papers that, not only discuss and criticize ‘data
cultures,’ but also share experiences and explore and speculate on
innovative forms of collaboration between data scientists and anthropologists
in various fields (e.g. market analysis, design and development of products
and services, computational biology, personalized medicine, epidemiology,
engineering etc.).

We invite interested contributors to submit a paper title, abstract (250 words
max), current affiliation and contact info to Roberta Raffaetà
( and Giovanna Santanera
( by Friday, March 27. Decisions about acceptance
of abstracts for this panel will be emailed no later than March 30.
Thanks, Roberta and Giovanna

Roberta Raffaetà
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Universitätsplatz 5 - Piazza Università 1
I-39100 Bozen-Bolzano
+39 3382846103
Latest publications:
Caring across borders: The politics of belonging and transnational health,
ANUAC. Rivista della Socità Italiana di Antropologia Culturale
Current projects: SPASS (Studying, Portraying and ASSessing examples of good
scientific practice in interdisciplinary work)
PPE (Praxis, Performativity, Embodied Knowledge)

Latest media:
Latest event:
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
William Butler Yeats, 1914

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