ExtrACTION & Environment TIG News

Taking Virtual Action

Anna Willow et al

As with many of SfAA’s topical interest groups, the ExtrACTION & Environment TIG met virtually on April 3.  Among other topics, we discussed suggestions for dealing with the SfAA cancellation, and urged people to spread the word about selecting SfAA’s Option B (sharing presentation for virtual SfAA conference) if they were financially able to do so.  In addition, we suggested that session organizers and chairs who are able, should reach out to session participants to organize some kind of virtual meeting in order to keep the networking element of the SfAA meeting alive. One option for people working on an exciting session topic is to propose a similar, but updated session next year in Norfolk.

Almost everyone has experienced some form of disruption to their ongoing and planned research, whether it has come in the form of postponed or cancelled fieldwork, lack of access to funding, or closures of areas due to quarantines. Many of us are taking some form of research inspiration (or rising to meet urgent data needs) from the ongoing situation.  (e.g., Kirk Jalbert is looking at pipelines being pushed through amidst state backed anti-protest bills; Anna Willow is exploring how to make “positive” portions of this “reset” stick.) Some of us are using more Internet-based ethnography (including social media) as this becomes our dominant mode of social interaction.

Some practicing anthropologists may be unemployed now; other researchers may be “stuck” in the field.  What are your stories?  It would be very interesting to learn what is going on for workers at extraction sites in light of the pandemic. In New Mexico, for instance, the highest levels of infection are from counties that are part of the Mancos Shale.  

We have to hope things will be much better next spring and prepare for a great conference in Norfolk!  Given financial (and other) uncertainties, it would be good to be open to participation via Zoom and other virtual platforms.  Please send your stories, research plans and current thoughts to us.  The snow will stop; the tornados will cease; the virus will take a hiatus.  We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next few months.


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