2020 AAA Annual Meeting Theme:

Truth and Responsibility

November 18-22, 2020

St Louis, MO.

Anthropology of Consciousness:

Call for Papers, Panels and Co-sponsored Sessions

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

― Zora Neale Hurston

The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.

—Ruth Benedict


We are thrilled to announce the theme of the 2020 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in St. Louis, MO: Truth and Responsibility.

Truth and Responsibility” is a call to reimagine anthropology to meet the demands of the present moment. The imperative to bear witness, take action, and be held accountable to the truths we write and circulate invites us to reflect on our responsibility in reckoning with disciplinary histories, harms, and possibilities. To whom are we giving evidence and toward what ends? For whom are we writing? To whom are we accountable, and in what ways?

For those who study the anthropology of consciousness, the year 2020 has always held special significance as a potential time of radical transformations and shifting paradigms. How is our discipline affected by events unfolding in the world today? What responsibility do we have to the land, to the peoples, and to the field of nonlocal consciousness itself from which we take our own identities and make our living exploring?


It seems the “post-truth” and “anti-scientific” perspectives are threatening in the time of Coronavirus. But threatening to whom? And why? Does a return to indigenous epistemological forms mean we are entering a post, post-truth era which is as much a return as a progression? What do cultures of consciousness have to say about truth and responsibility as they relate to sustaining integrative, thriving societies? Is indigeneity a conscious relationship to the Other that can be adopted and expressed across cultural divides or is it inherent to the social and epistemological forms within which it arises? How can these elemental relationships be understood and respected in times of great cultural upheaval and change?


Across subfields, we find truths in patterns of human behavior, language, evolution, and cultural worlds. But what are the limits and possibilities of the anthropological imagination? What is the relationship of the imagination in regards to truth and responsibility? What can we learn about this from a perspective of consciousness? AoC’s special lens focuses on the transformation and empowerment of the individual from the inside out. This angle as it relates to post-colonial theory is particularly interesting because, although vital communal bonds are necessary for collective consciousness to take root in the self, powerful individuals, in turn, make for more effective agents of cultural change. The one is born from the other and subsequently nourishes, challenges and sometimes overturns it in return. How can we leverage this knowledge to support social wellbeing in times of crisis?


AoC has the responsibility to share and promote the unconventional and uncomfortable truths of sacred stories and ecstatic experiences that challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo. With our section’s emphasis on the first person exploration of Shamanic, Entheogenic, PSI, and transformative experiences, how can our understanding of the different frameworks for truth within cultures of consciousness challenge the normative, external, rational Western Ego that permeates so much of modern anthropological discourse? For instance, Western empirical objective knowing in contrast to more participatory, or inner, intuitive knowing. E.g. “Prajna”  in Buddhists contexts, or the concept of “Gnosis.”


The hope is that those who submit proposals will take up these questions and engage in collective thinking and imagining about the truths we hold, the truths we challenge, and the responsibilities we bear in co-creating a free and more equitable world. We want to provide a forum for people discussing different frameworks of responsibility within different cultures of consciousness. How is responsibility to self, family, tribe, community, nation, the natural world, all beings, no being, or various combinations, framed in these lifeworlds and why? All panel proposals should have a statement about how the panel has incorporated the goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and/or an analysis of power.


To submit, please follow this two-step process:

  • Please have abstract submissions to us ASAP. No later than by April 10, 2020.

You can email submissions here:

  • Submit papers, panels and general inquiries below. Please select AOC as a possible cosponsor or host for your submissions:

April 24: General Call for Papers Abstract Proposal START Deadline

April 29: General Call for Papers Abstract Proposal SUBMISSION Deadline


COVID-19 NOTE from the AAA:

If you register now and decide later not to attend due to COVID-19 concerns, we will refund your conference registration in full. Due to the extraordinary circumstances, we will not charge the usual administrative fee on refunds.

New Book: Jaguars of the Dawn: Spirit Mediumship in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer by Emily Pierini

Jaguars of the Dawn: Spirit Mediumship in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer’ has been published by Berghahn (hardback and eBook). 

This is the first book in English on the Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn), a Brazilian Spiritualist Christian Order that is rapidly spreading across South and North America, and Europe. It should be of particular interest for those working on Brazilian religions, spirit mediumship and possession, spiritual healing, spirituality and health, learning religion, anthropology of the body and the self. 



“This is an exciting book for several reasons… it contributes original knowledge to theoretical debates on the relationship between humans and spirits and the ways in which spirit possession/mediumship is about a transformation of the self.” Cristina Rocha, Western Sydney University.



The Brazilian Spiritualist Christian Order Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn) is the place where the worlds of the living and the spirits merge and the boundaries between lives are regularly crossed. Drawing upon over a decade of extensive fieldwork in temples of the Amanhecer in Brazil and Europe, the author explores how mediums understand their experiences and how they learn to establish relationships with their spirit guides. She sheds light on the ways in which mediumistic development in the Vale do Amanhecer is used for therapeutic purposes and informs notions of body and self, of illness and wellbeing.

Hardback: (See attachment for a 50% discount code)




Recommend it to your library: 

CFP AAA 2018 panel on Resilience and Adaptation in Voice and Refugee Experience

Call For Papers for the 2018 American Anthropological Association conference in San Jose, California

The working title for this panel is “Resilience and Adaptation in Voice and Refugee Experience” The voice used to describe refugees often does not speak from experience. Media reports tend to objectify refugees as a political problem. In general, public life and narratives about refugees leaves experiences unspoken, perhaps because of cosmologies of nations, structural violence, trauma, or power differentials. Anthropological studies of voice, however, have exposed such problems in representation through a variety of methods and perspectives. This panel foregrounds experience to
ask: What can research on voice teach us about refugee resiliency and adaptation?

This CFP seeks papers which examine the importance and processes of voice in resilience and adaptation in refugee experiences through a broad perspective. This panel is open to all subfields of anthropology. Some possible inquiries might be: Is voice necessary for survival and resilience? What are the places where refugee voices can be heard and shared? Which publics are formed with the voices used to describe refugees? How is voice given to experiences through war crime and border crossing death investigations? How can feminist studies about voice contribute to our understandings of refugees? What can vocal pedagogy and vocal production teach us about these themes? This panel seeks to explore refugee experiences through topics such as, but not limited to: the connections
between individual voice and the sociocultural in resiliency and adaptation; voice as sound and embodied practice or as literary and linguistic practice among refugees; voice and underrepresented people; refugee experiences as adaptations in different historic or prehistoric times; and research methods for unspoken experiences.

Please submit an abstract of 250 words or less to Nina Müller-Schwarze at before or on March 24, 2018. The panel will be submitted to the Music and Sound Interest Group for review and possible sponsorship.

CFP Agency, Consciousness, and Medicine

Agency, Consciousness, and Medicine

Panel Organizers: Sydney Yeager (Southern Methodist University) and Mark Flanagan (Piedmont Health Services)

Call for Papers
2018 Meetings of the American Anthropological Association

This year’s meeting will be held in San Jose, CA., November 14-18, 2018 and the topic is “Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation.”

Panel Abstract:
Defined by Sherry Ortner as the ability to change culture and behavior, agency is a hallmark of certain states of consciousness. Dramatic changes in a person’s experience of their own agency are frequently noted in the cross-cultural record. The primary goal of many ritualistic transformations of consciousness is to allow the person to obtain a greater degree of agency or to regain agency that has been lost or to give up individual agency in communion with higher authority, primarily framed in spiritual terms. Similarly, agency is a central question in many medical settings; the ability to exercise agency is contested by medical practitioners, patients, and caregivers. Illness, trauma or emotional distress can trigger a shift in consciousness and agency in profound ways. This panel seeks to explore the many ways that consciousness can affect agency within formal and informal medical settings, and how positive transformations of consciousness can lead to emotional healing through a journey of reclaiming of agency.

Abstract Submissions:
This CFP hopes to attract scholars working in a wide range of topics and field sites to engage in a lively discussion of how we can expand our understanding of agency through the lens of consciousness.

Please note the unified deadline—April 16, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.—for the submission of abstracts for the AAA meetings. As such, the panel will need to be finalized in advance of this date.

Abstract submissions for inclusion on this panel need to be emailed to Sydney Yeager at by April 2, 2018.

UpComing Deadline – Call for Managing Editor for Anthropology of Consciousness Journal

Anthropology of Consciousness

The Executive Board of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness is now inviting applications for Managing Editor of its peer-reviewed journal, Anthropology of Consciousness. Interested applicants should submit a CV, a written statement specifically addressing the qualification criteria listed below and her/his vision for how the journal might evolve. Please send all materials to Beth Savage, SAC Secretary/Treasurer at Final selection will follow an interview, preferably before or at the 2018 SAC Spring Meeting in Palo Alto.  Co-Editors encouraged to apply! The three-year term begins August 1, 2018.

Qualifications for Anthropology of Consciousness Managing Editor:
Demonstrated interest in and knowledge of SAC’s areas of research and scholarship. Experience and knowledge in publishing, editing, and journal administration. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Higher degree in anthropology or closely related field. Proven record of refereed publications.
Ability to work with a digital publishing platform. Excellent interpersonal skills and experience supervising staff.

Anthropology of Consciousness is grounded in anthropology, and produces a comprehensive body of literature in both new and established topical areas. A  distinct and highly valued feature of the journal is its interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary appeal to academic authors, contributors, and readers from anthropology as well as from psychology, sociology, alternative and complementary medicine, and phenomenology.  An overarching goal of SAC is to increase the impact and exposure of the journal across anthropology and the other human sciences.

Working arrangements:
Must be available for a three-year term of appointment.

Must meet strict deadlines to produce two issues of the journal annually.

Must have a computer updated to current standards and software.

Works closely with Associate Editors/peer-reviewers and an Assistant Editor.

Training provided, preferably before term begins to overlap with current Managing Editors.

Volunteer position with reimbursement for journal-related costs.

Attendance at AAA annual fall meeting expected, with some travel and lodging

Organizational or financial support from editor’s institution or organization helpful.

100% working remotely.

Letter from SAC President 1-31-18

Dear Members and Enthusiasts of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness:
In the challenging times we are living in, there is a tremendous need for our work and interest in human consciousness. Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to come together, share our wisdom, and rekindle our passions. For many years, the SAC Spring meeting has been a time for our community to gather and revitalize. Every year we see old faces and new, preserving and passing on cultural wisdom that holds so much potential. What we do with that is an open question, and this year we planned a special visioning circle to co-create our future. We need to ask ourselves, “What might we be?” and “How might we get there?,” and then usher in a new generation of leadership. This is an opportunity for students and young professionals to build valuable experience into their resume. Several positions on the board are opening up and the time for re-election is fastly approaching. If you are interested, please respond to the call for candidates.

Unfortunately, we face a serious challenge. In the past two years, participation had declined despite efforts to collaborate with institutions that hold similar interests. Our online engagement is rising, but meeting participation waning. In the coming months we will be reaching out to each of our members, asking what they’re needs are and how we can best serve them. But right now we need engagement. We need our community to come together and envision the future. To this end we have extended the submission deadline for the Spring 2018 conference until Feb 15th. This is the time to speak up and join in. You don’t need to have an academic paper to present. We need your passion and ideas. Tell us what you want to speak on and we will give you the opportunity.

Without your support we will be forced to cancel the Spring meeting, silencing the visioning process we so critically need. Please contact us with any questions or offers of help to make 2018 happen. For conference questions and submission, please email Sean Hinton, our coordinator, at You can reach me personally at


Bryan Rill
SAC President

New Member Discount

SAC is excited to announce a new membership discount. Up until the Spring 2018 conference, anyone can join SAC as an Associate member or student for 10% off. New members enjoy full access to the Anthropology of Consciousness journal, discounted registration rates to meetings, and the full benefits of AAA membership. You can begin to enjoy these benefits by joining SAC before registering. Details:

Promo Code: SACAS18

Discount: 10% off Associate and Student (graduate and undergraduate) memberships

Timeline: December 15, 2017 – March 25, 2018

The code should be entered at checkout on the join/renew form.

Registration and Hotel Information for SAC Spring Meeting

SAC Spring Meeting 2018

Registration Information (Please Share Widely)


Thank you for your interest in the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Spring meeting. There are several ways to participate:


If you would like submit a presentation or workshop, please see the instructions on our Call for Papers, available on our website If you want to come without presenting, we have full meeting and one-day registrations available. Visit our website for details.


To Register, please visit Select “Attend Events”, then “Section or Spring Meetings” from the dropdown menu. SAC is the fourth meeting listed. You will need to create a login to register. Registration will also be available on site.



Full Meeting Price Onsite – ONE DAY Reg.
SAC Associate Member $150 $50/day
SAC Joint Member $150 $50/day
SAC Retired Member $150 $50/day
SAC Student Member $80 $25/day
SAC Professional Member $150 $50/day
SAC International Member $150 $50/day
SAC Student NonMember $100 $25/day
SAC Professional NonMember $170 $70/day



New Member Discount


SAC is excited to announce a new membership discount. Up until the Spring 2018 conference, anyone can join SAC as an Associate member or student for 10% off. New members enjoy full access to the Anthropology of Consciousness journal, discounted registration rates to meetings, and the full benefits of AAA membership. You can begin to enjoy these benefits by joining SAC before registering. Details:


Promo Code: SACAS18

Discount: 10% off Associate and Student (graduate and undergraduate) memberships

Timeline: December 15, 2017 – March 25, 2018

The code should be entered at checkout on the join/renew form.

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