The theme of the conference, the Future with/of Anthropologies, is multi-vocal, and indicates our intention to discuss and think about the future not only of anthropology as a discipline in general but also of anthropologies in the specific, as various sub-disciplines (e.g., urban anthropology, legal anthropology, psychological anthropology) covering different areas for debate (race, human rights, public engagement, publication and so on). At the same time, anthropology in the plural suggests our interest in world anthropologies with varying histories and positionalities in differential power relations within the field of knowledge production.
The general theme of this conference also provokes the need to discuss the future with anthropologies, or the future of humanity, society, institutions and individuals in the process of (re)creating and (re)engaging with the knowledge and practice of anthropologies. Metropolitan Japan is a particularly appropriate place to discuss such futures. Not only has Japan often been regarded as leading futuristic paths in an alternative form of non-Western modernity, it has continuously engaged itself in internal cultural debates over its future and its past – in dealing with the ‘crisis’ of a super-ageing population and in finding new traditions in a post-industrial age, for example. What are the multiple understandings of the futures of humanity, and accordingly, what are the futures of anthropologies in its various forms?
This joint conference comes at a critical moment in terms of finding new pathways for engagement among world anthropologies. JASCA is one of the largest anthropological associations in the world with over two thousand members and fifty years of history since its foundation in 1964. Its original body can be traced back further to 1934, the same year that the IUAES held its first World Congress in London. And yet, the vast extent of its production of anthropological knowledge has remained relatively contained within the Japanese-language community. In envisioning the future of anthropologies and the future with anthropologies at this historic juncture, it is hoped that the event will result in new creative forms of dialogue among world anthropologies, and we hope to contribute to the formation of a stronger, multi-faceted, and more open network of anthropologists for the future.