Call for Papers: AAA Annual Meeting “Anthropology Matters!”

Call for Papers: AAA Annual Meeting “Anthropology Matters!”
November 29-December 3, 2017
Washington, DC

Session Title: The Politics and Practice of Sex Work Research
Organizer: Megan Lowthers
Discussant: Sealing Cheng

Session Abstract:
Both feminist ideologies and political movements have had a profound impact on sex work research design, implementation, and dissemination. In response to moralistic anti-trafficking campaigns that misrepresent the lived experiences of sex workers as well as the exclusion of sex workers from research processes, many researchers have argued for a shift from research on sex workers to non-exploitative research with sex workers. In the social sciences, sex work researchers have been at the forefront of engaging reflexively with questions surrounding inclusivity, voice, and representation in research, and how their research can be relevant to sex working communities and the sex workers’ rights movement. As a result, critical sex work research has sought to increase ethical practices by employing participatory research methods (Dewey and Zheng 2013), arts-based research (Desyllas 2013), and photovoice projects (Cheng 2017, Oliveira 2016), as well as its impact on policy, advocacy, and activism (van der Meulen, Durisin, and Love 2013).

The goal of this organized session is to engage with questions and debates in the discipline of anthropology and in research that draws from anthropological perspectives surrounding, why, how, and to whom sex work research matters. Within the subject of sex work research individual abstract submissions are not limited; however, topics could include:

– Sex work research design
– Ethics and sex work research
– Researcher and participant relationships
– Sex worker-led research methodology
– Innovative research methods
– Action research
– Policy relevant research
– Sex workers’ rights, activism, and research
– Sex work research challenges

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to Megan Lowthers at no later than Wednesday, April 12th. You will be notified if your abstract is accepted the same day. If your abstract is selected for this session you will be required to register for the AAA conference and submit your individual abstract by Friday, April 14th.

References Cited

Cheng, Sealing. 2017. “The Voice of Images: Photovoice, Sex Workers and Affective Engagement.” In Prostitution Research in Context: Methodology, Representation and Power, edited by Marlene Spanger and May-Len Skilbrei. Oxon: Routledge.
Desyllas, Moshoula Capous. 2013. “Using Photovoice with Sex Workers: The power of Art, Agency, and Resistance.” Qualitative Social Work 13 (4):477-501.
Dewey, Susan, and Tiantian Zheng. 2013. Ethical Research with Sex Workers: Anthropological Approaches. New York: Springer.
Oliveira, Elsa. 2016. “Empowering, Invasive or a Little Bit of Both? A Reflection on the Use of Visual and Narrative Methods in Research with Migrant Sex Workers in South Africa.” Visual Studies 31 (3):260-278.
van der Meulen, Emily, Elya M. Durisin, and Victoria Love, eds. 2013. Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy, and Research on Sex Work in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

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