Hilarie Kelly

University of La Verne
Department of Sociology/Anthropology

SWAA President 2014–2015

Message from the SWAA President

The 86th Annual SWAA Conference will be held from May 1–2, 2015 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. This is truly a venue like no other. This extraordinary piece of history reminds us of the long-term ties we have to globalization and human migration. How many thousands of stories unfolded on her decks? Books have been written on this topic, and even Westways, the magazine of the Automobile Association of Southern California, featured a lively recounting of her drama and charms in their September 2014 issue. Technology, tourism, class, historical and cultural nostalgia, and even a few hauntings are among the many themes evoked by this venue.

The theme of the conference will be ‘Voyages: Past, Present and Future.’ What voyages has anthropology taken us on, and where is our discipline headed? Where does anthropology belong on the high seas of globalization? Are anthropologists best suited to be captains, crew, passengers, or pirates? The Queen Mary has served many functions, from Royal Mail Ship of empire, to steamship for royalty and celebrities, to military troopship, to immigrant transport. Now, it welcomes the world as a renowned tourist destination. It seems the perfect venue for anthropologists to contemplate our own diverse adventures and plan new ones.

Our banquet speaker will be Dr. Roberto Gonzalez of San José State University. His talk will be on ‘Parallel Universe: Cultural Knowledge and the Military-Industrial Complex.’ His work focuses on the relationship between humans and their environments; on science, technology and society; on militarism and culture; and on anthropological ethics. His book, Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State, was published in 2010, and he co-edited (with Rachael Stryker) a volume titled Up, Down, and Sideways: Anthropologists Trace the Pathways of Power (Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology) that came out in 2014.

Please join us in May 2015 on the broad wooden decks and in the elegant halls of the Queen Mary. Enjoy with us the magnificent view as we look out across the waters towards the many cultures of the Pacific Rim and beyond, and as we gaze back towards the beautiful and lively city of Long Beach and the country that has become the final docking place for one of the most famous ships of modern history. The QM has been witness to many human experiences, and so have we.

As always, the SWAA Board is committed to SWAA remaining a four-field association, welcoming all contributions with something meaningful and original to say, from all branches of anthropology, including applied and activist anthropology, and fields that share a close connection to what we do. Papers, posters, films and panel discussions will fill our two-day schedule, ending with a rousing plenary session and a banquet dinner. I also want to extend a heartfelt invitation to those of you who do not plan to present in 2015: please come and discuss the work of your colleagues and friends! Come one, come all. Don’t miss the boat!