March 2022 Newsletter

Dear CUAA Community,

I hope that each of your semesters are off to a strong start! This month features opportunities to organize and participate in panels for this year’s AAA Conference and highlights recent publications that explore urban spaces in Turkey and Haiti. I encourage you to look at each and connect with your colleagues!

As always, please continue to share publications, professional opportunities, and events with me. The deadline for that information to be included in next month’s newsletter is April 8th. Don’t hesitate to email me at nathan.romine.183 @my.csun.edu!

Be well!

Nathan Romine

Announcements

The 2022 Anthony Leeds Prize in Urban Anthropology

The Anthony Leeds Prize is awarded annually by the Critical Urban Anthropology Association (CUAA), formerly SUNTA, to an outstanding book in urban anthropology published in 2021. The prize is named in honor of the late Anthony Leeds, a distinguished pioneer in the field. The goal of the Leeds Prize is to showcase a monograph that advances the research agenda of anthropologists working in urban and transnational societies in methodologically and theoretically innovative ways. Textbooks and anthologies will not be considered. The prize will be awarded at the CUAA business meeting at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. The winner must be willing to have their prize acceptance remarks published in City and Society, the CUAA journal. A letter of nomination (from an author, colleague, or publisher) is only required for those authors whose Ph.D. is in a discipline outside of anthropology. The letter must specify the relevance of the book to urban anthropology. 

Books must be sent no later than May 16, 2022. 

Send a digital copy and four hard copies of the book to Leeds Prize chair Sylvia Nam, sylvia.nam@uci.edu 

Leeds Prize Committee

c/o Sylvia Nam

Department of Anthropology
University of California, Irvine

3151 Social Science Plaza

Irvine, CA 92697-5100

Upcoming Events

Teaching the City Digital Workshop 

How do we teach about the city? What sits at the core of our educational and pedagogical explorations of urban spaces and socialities within Anthropology and its sibling disciplines?

The Critical Urban Anthropology Association (CUAA) will host a digital workshop on April 8, 2022, to explore these questions through a half-day of presentations and conversations. The workshop will feature a keynote address by John L. Jackson, Jr., the Richard Perry University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania; a roundtable featuring interdisciplinary scholars; and a series of lightning talks focused on pedagogical questions and practical case studies.

Questions may be addressed to Suzanne Scheld (suzanne.scheld@csun.edu) and Angela Storey (angela.storey@louisville.edu). The registration link will be released and disseminated in the upcoming two weeks.

ADDITIONALLY:

This event’s organizers are collecting syllabi for undergraduate and graduate level courses that pertain to urban anthropology. Those syllabi will be made available as a resource to members of our community. Please send your syllabi to Hanadi Alhalabi at hanadi.alhalabi.241@my.csun.edu.

Suzanne Scheld and Angela Story are organizing a series of panels for this year’s AAA conference that will address themes and pedagogical questions that emerge from and are relevant to “Teaching the City.” Scholars and practitioners that are interested in participating in these panels are encouraged to reach out to Suzanne Scheld at suzanne.scheld@csun.edu

Publications

Police, Provocation, Politics: Counterinsurgency in Istanbul

Deniz Yonucu, Lecturer, Newcastle University |Co-Editor, Directions Section, Political and Legal Anthropology Review

In Police, Provocation, Politics, Deniz Yonucu presents a counterintuitive analysis of contemporary policing practices, focusing particular attention on the incitement of counterviolence, perpetual conflict, and ethnosectarian discord by the state security apparatus. Situating Turkish policing within a global context and combining archival work and oral history narratives with ethnographic research, Yonucu demonstrates how counterinsurgency strategies from the Cold War and decolonial eras continue to inform contemporary urban policing in Istanbul. Shedding light on counterinsurgency’s affect-and-emotion-generating divisive techniques and urban dimensions, Yonucu shows how counterinsurgent policing strategies work to intervene in the organization of political dissent in a way that both counters existing alignments among dissident populations and prevents emergent ones.

Yonucu suggests that in the places where racialized and dissident populations live, provocations of counterviolence and conflict by state security agents as well as their containment of both cannot be considered disruptions of social order. Instead, they can only be conceptualized as forms of governance and policing designed to manage actual or potential rebellious populations.

Deniz has graciously shared a 30% off coupon for CUAA community members that are interested in purchasing their book (see attached QR code)!

Street Sovereigns: Young Men and the Makeshift State in Urban Haiti

Chelsey L. Kivland, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

How do people improvise political communities in the face of state collapse—and at what cost? Street Sovereigns explores the risks and rewards taken by young men on the margins of urban Haiti who broker relations with politicians, state agents, and NGO workers in order to secure representation, resources, and jobs for themselves and neighbors. Moving beyond mainstream analyses that understand these groups—known as baz (base)—as apolitical, criminal gangs, Chelsey Kivland argues that they more accurately express a novel mode of street politics that has resulted from the nexus of liberalizing orders of governance and development with longstanding practices of militant organizing in Haiti.

Kivland demonstrates how the baz exemplifies an innovative and effective platform for intervening in the contemporary political order, while at the same time reproducing gendered and generational hierarchies and precipitating contests of leadership that exacerbate neighborhood insecurity. Still, through the continual effort to reconstitute a state that responds to the needs of the urban poor, this story offers a poignant lesson for political thought: one that counters prevailing conceptualizations of the state as that which should be flouted, escaped, or dismantled. The baz project reminds us that in the stead of a vitiated government and public sector the state resurfaces as the aspirational bedrock of the good society. “We make the state,” as baz leaders say.

Call for Submissions and Participation

AAA 2022 Panel Opportunity:

Cityscapes of Precarity: Navigating Vulnerability and Possibility in Urban Life 

Austin Duncan, Post-Doctoral Scholar at the University of Arizona, and Sarah Renkert, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Arizona, are organizing a panel on “Cityscapes of Precarity” for this year’s AAAs. Scholars and practitioners that are interested in participating should contact Austin at awdunc@arizona.edu.

Abstract:

Cityscapes of Precarity: Navigating Vulnerability and Possibility in Urban Life 

In a world wracked by a global pandemic, persistent and intensifying inequities, and a looming climate catastrophe, it is not surprising that precarity has been characterized as the condition of our time (Bourdieu 1998, Butler 2004, Tsing 2015). While precarity is not unique to urban areas, the cityscapes of today are distinctly marked by topographies of precarity superimposed on the luxury and wealth of the few. Many urban residents are unable to access the social and economic resources they need to thrive—or even survive—in the same communities, forced to inhabit spaces between “just getting by” and “total calamity” (Breman and van der Linden 2014; Das and Randeria 2015). This is an experience that is often exacerbated by health, racial, and gender disparities, among other forms of intersectional precarity (Misra 2021). As this panel will explore, today’s cities offer a unique context for considering the vulnerabilites and possibilities presented by precarity amidst an ever-growing concentration of diverse people, shifting social and economics relations, and the pervasiveness of urban disparities (Campbell and Laheij 2021).

We invite presentations on contemporary forms of urban precarity from around the globe that speak to the range of ways people in cities live precariously, including but not limited to urban poverty and economic instability, homelessness, racial, gender, and other social categories, disease, chronic health, and disability, and other forms of precarious vulnerabilities. We also seek to include perspectives that flesh out and delineate the changing meanings of precarity, including how urban precarity may be productive of new modes of subjectivity, citizenship, and organizing (Lorey 2012, Standing 2011). Drawing together papers from across the anthropological sub-fields and related disciplines, this panel will explore the ways that that precarity emerges from and is interwoven into city life, producing pervasive forms of vulnerability and instability, but also creative possibilities for mobilization and collective change.