The American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting is in DC this year, so thousands of anthropologists are descending on/near my neighborhood. I’ve been dropping the ball this fall insofar as keeping the blog updated with presentations (at PAC in DC and at ASA in Chicago, sorry), but here’s my AAA run-down.
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2:00-3:45p, I’ll be presenting “‘Come Home Messaging’ in a Counterinsurgency: Demobilization and Militarization in and around Northern Uganda,” part of panel (5-0880): “Understanding Violence: Cases and Analyses from Across Africa,” in the Marriott, Roosevelt 4
Abstract: Demobilization of armed groups typically happens en masse after the end of a conflict in an effort to prevent future conflict. In the efforts to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army in and around Uganda, however, demobilization has taken place during the conflict, targeting individuals to convince them to surrender. Sometimes conflated with defection, this process serves to weaken the insurgency and end the war as much as it aims to demobilize and reintegrate fighters. This elision merges what is typically a post-conflict intervention with a counterinsurgency effort, entangling these projects in temporal, relational, and political ways. This paper theorizes this merging by focusing on the ways humanitarian actors speak about demobilization and the ways that different humanitarian and counterinsurgency efforts overlap in terms of the ends they seek. Based on fieldwork, linguistic analysis, and interviews with humanitarians involved, I demonstrate how the demobilizing of armed actors can actually contribute to the militarization of the region.
In addition to my paper, I’ll be running around the AAAs all week, so I hope to see you. I’ll be live-tweeting a panel (2-0430), “Remoteness and Place-making as Social Practice,” Wednesday, 2:15-4:00pm, on behalf of Cultural Anthropology (where I’m a contributing editor now, icymi) and chairing the panel (4-0365) “Sex and War” (Friday, 10:15a-12:00p, Marriott, Jefferson) organized by Holly Porter. I’ve also been relentlessly promoting other events you should check out, and here’s an ongoing list of GW-affiliated presentations. There’s also, of course, a billion other panels, roundtables, meetings, and receptions to attend. Have fun with the whirlwind.