August 4th, 2018
The IUAES in cooperation with Association of Brazilian Anthropology (ABA) met for its 18th Congress entitled “Word Encounters: Past, Present and Future” at Santa Catarina Federal University in Florianopolis, Brazil. There were 3000 registered scholars, from 94 countries, but actually 1621 came to the Congress, 478 from the international world, and 978 from Brazil. Almost all of the 32 Scientific Commissions of the IUAES were present with their meetings, symposiums or plenaries. There were also 18 ethnographic films, 35 exhibitions, book launches and crafts fair. There were 8 special lectures, 8 plenaries and the meetings were called open or closed sessions. They were held in English, Portuguese or Spanish. The Congress was keen to reflect the state of Brazilian anthropology which was against “Western Hegemony” as was reflected in the keynote lecture of Professor Kabengele Munanga, and so translations into Portuguese or English were spontaneous for lectures and plenaryies. Some sessions were only in English, and some in Portuguese. Spanish was also used prevalently, to accommodate the rest of the South American continent and the Carribean.
At the end of all congresses, there is a competition between countries which want to host the next Congress. This year there were Croatia and India which were competing for the 19th Congress, and India won with overwhelming majority. This year for the first time the IUAES bestowed prizes of honor to some of its important officials and eight members of the IUAES won these honorary prizes, including the Chair of our Commission.
“Anthropological Experiences” were opportunities for tourism within the vicinity. The day after the Congress there was such an opportunity for members to go to an agricultural village some 250 kilometers from Florianopolis. They were onion and tobacco producers, but they also produced their own vegetables and the lunch menu of the day was from local products cooked by a number of women who hosted the occasion with their entire families.
What made the Congress a real success, besides the quality of papers, key note speeches and plenaryies, was the active and cordial presence of students who were at every corner to respond to our queries and urgent needs; from the airport till the last day, they made sure that we got responses to all we asked, and they were even ready to accompany us to another location of the campus, something which is really rare in all Congresses.
As far as our Commission on the Anthropology of the Middle East is concerned, we had the following active presence: We had a plenary entitled: “Relevance of anthropology to the Study of Present Situation in Middle East” in which the following members of our Commission offered short papers, as was the format of the Plenary: Leonardo Schiocchet, Paulo G.H.R. Pinto, Nefissa Naguib, Marcin Brocki and myself, with the following short articles: "Anthropology indemythologizing of the Middle East for contemporary Europe" (M.B.), "Refugee Crisis in Europe"(L.S.), "Anthropology and the Syrian Civil War" (P.G.P.), "The show must go on" (N.N.), “Children of the Cradle of Civilization” (S.S.). We had another session presenting our Commission, and I think we will have a few new members joining us from the Carribeanand South America. Now Paulo Pinto as our regional representative will take care of matters related to this sub-continent. Other sessions held by our Commission were the following: Soheila Shahshahani with Subhadra Channa (Chair of the Commission on Marginalization and Global Apartheid) held a session entitled “Demonizing the ‘Other’: Stereotypes and Prejudices about Transnational Global Movements.” Professor Faye Harrison, President of the IUAES, jointly chaired this session.
Nefisa Naguib and Gisele Fonseca Chagas held eight sessions in two days on “Art of Living: Anthropological perspectives on tastes, desires and pleasures”.
Leonardo Schiocchet with Paulo Pinto held a session entitled “Arab Encounters.”
Marcin Brocki and Leonardo Schiocchet held book launches also.
You can read on the program of the Congress on the website of the IUAES