Letter from the President

Dear EASA member

Noel Salazar

Every two years, our association holds open elections to renew its executive committee. We should be collectively thankful to all candidates for their willingness to devote time and energy to serve EASA’s mission of ‘promoting professional communication and cooperation between European social anthropologists’. All eligible members of the previous executive ran for election again and were re-elected. To me, this is a sign of their commitment as well as an indication that the membership approves of the way the association has been led in the recent past. In name of the association, I would like to thank the outgoing members of the executive committee. Thomas Fillitz and David Shankland each dedicated six years to EASA, respectively as Secretary and as Treasurer of the association, while Maria Couroucli served for four years as member of the executive committee.

Let me present to you the new executive committee. Continuity is assured by Jeanette Edwards (Vice-President), Susana Narotzky (Network liaison), Abdullahi El-Tom and myself. Mark Maguire was co-opted again as additional member. Together with David Berliner, he will continue for another two years as Editor of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, while also Book Review Editor Vlad Naumescu remains on board. We welcome our new Secretary, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, our new Treasurer, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, and Hana Cervinkova. They will undoubtedly bring fresh ideas and renewed dynamism to the executive committee. James Carrier has graciously accepted to continue working as the EASA Book Series Editor while we continue searching for a worthy replacement. Rohan Jackson and his dedicated team at NomadIT remain of invaluable help in organizing our meetings and conferences, taking care of membership payments and keeping the EASA website up and running.

I do not see my election as EASA’s thirteenth President in 2013 as bad luck but, rather, as both an honour and a responsibility. Many people across Europe are currently filled with ‘anxiety and disquiet’ (the theme of our past conference in Nanterre). The wider socio-economic context is also affecting our very discipline and its practitioners. Whether we like it or not, the current condition affects the way we teach, conduct research and serve society. The job insecurity of anthropology students and recent graduates, the precarious state of some anthropology departments and the endangered funding of anthropological projects have made it necessary for EASA to start lobbying at the European level. While we were already active through the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities (EASH), the association has now also become affiliated with the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE). We continue networking on the global level, through our membership of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA) and our contacts with the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES).

Despite the challenging circumstances in which many of us have to work or study, EASA remains remarkably stable as a scholarly society. The current editorial team of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale is producing intellectually stimulating and socially relevant journal issues. A newly created ad hoc taskforce will help us prepare to deal with the issue of ‘open access’ and we are working hard to improve and better promote the EASA Book Series. The biennial conference in Nanterre was the largest in EASA’s history. The EASA website was revamped and the association engages with the broader public via new social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter). The number of EASA thematic networks is increasing and, with the financial support of the association, networks are organizing innovative events and activities. Even if EASA is financially in good shape, the new executive committee wants to be extra cautious and to cut costs wherever possible. We have decided, for instance, to reduce the number of our physical get-togethers, drawing instead on new technologies to meet, discuss and decide.

What lies ahead of us? Together with our colleagues in Tallinn, Estonia, we are preparing what promises to be a memorable biennial conference in the summer of 2014. It will be a special edition because we’ll be celebrating the association’s twenty-fifth anniversary. However, you do not need to wait that long to meet other EASA members or to get involved in the association. The network activities are an obvious way to start. You’re also most welcome to EASA’s next Annual General Meeting on Friday 4 October in Brussels, Belgium. We promise to offer you a valuable scholarly experience. Even without leaving your house or office, you can become involved in our exchanges on Twitter or Facebook. The executive committee particularly encourages you to get in touch with us and let us know how we can make EASA more worthwhile as a professional association. Our new ad hoc committees to address specific issues are but one initiative to involve the expertise of the membership in furthering the association’s mission. I myself am very motivated to give the best of myself and I hope I can count on your on-going support.

All the best,
Noel B. Salazar,
your president