[Call for Papers] Infrastructures of Collaboration: Lessons Learned from Collaborative Failures

Call for Papers for the Society for Cultural Anthropology Biennial Meeting

Infrastructures of Collaboration:
Lessons Learned from Collaborative Failures

We are happy to announce that this panel is now full and all panelists have been notified.


  • Angela VandenBroek, Anthropology PhD Student, Binghamton University
  • Amy Robbins, Anthropology PhD Candidate, Binghamton University

Call for Papers

As Marilyn Strathern (2006) has noted, recent decades have seen increasing calls to encourage spaces for collaboration. In this regard, collaboration is valorized for its pragmatism, as well as for the creative or innovative results it will produce via boundary-crossing. This is the conviction animating various calls for collaboration, including C.P. Snow’s classic The Two Cultures (1993 [1960]), and more recent art-science collaborations in the UK studied by James Leach (2011, 2012). Anthropologists such as Leach and Anthony Stavrianakis (2015), however, are pausing to ask about the purpose of such collaborative experiments, in the process demonstrating that idealizations of collaboration often fail amid the constraints of collaborative infrastructures.

Following Stavrianakis, this panel is organized around infrastructural issues, such as technologies of communication, the organization of labor, material arrangements of workspaces, professional habitus, and the accountabilities institutions are beholden to, that are more fundamental to the success or failure of collaborative engagements than individual personality and socialization. As anthropologists seek to collaboratively engage experts that are already negotiating these infrastructural milieu, we must address how ethnography might navigate infrastructural issues that shape and restrict collaborative relations.

We seek papers that reflect on lessons learned from infrastructural issues in collaborative case studies and how these lessons might expand upon current collaborative methodologies in anthropology.

Please submit abstracts to akvbroek@gmail.com by Tuesday, January 12.

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