CFP: (Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, and Recovery Online (SfAA 2018)


Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 3-7, 2018


(Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, and Recovery Online

Organizer: Allison Schlosser, Case Western Reserve University Department of Anthropology

Discussant: TDB

(Il)legal drug use is now a central global concern with the stark rise in opioid use and overdose death in the U.S. and emerging worldwide. As this drug crisis has intensified, so has the proliferation of new information and communication technologies. Images and discourses on drug use and overdose death have become spectacles circulated rapidly online. Meanwhile, individuals increasingly connect online to exchange information on drug use, “addiction,” and “recovery” via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. People buy and sell drugs, narrate drug experiences, and form recovery and advocacy groups online. How is drug use, addiction, and recovery shaped in and through these virtual social spaces? What is at stake for identities, inter-subjectivities, and socio-political inclusion as online interactions become ever more present in daily life? This panel explores these questions with an emphasis on what anthropological research attuned to the realities of lives lived on and offline can contribute to policy, health services, and advocacy efforts.

Potential paper topics include (but are not limited to):

-How online sociality shapes understandings of drug use (e.g., as “habit,” “addiction,” “dependency”) and the practical implications for policy and services.

-How new cultural practices related to drug use/addiction/recovery emerge online.

-How virtual and offline lives intersect as individuals negotiate drug use/addiction/recovery.

-Unanticipated consequences and opportunities of online drug use/addiction/recovery interactions for intervention efforts (e.g., harm reduction, advocacy, novel interventions).

-How individual and communal identities negotiated online may be novel and/or reproduce existing practices and power relations related to drug use/addiction/recovery.

-The ways social position shapes access to and engagement with drug use/addiction/recovery online groups and related ethical implications.


Please send paper abstracts of no more than 100 words to Allison Schlosser at by Friday, September 29.

Presenters will be notified of selection by October 6 and asked to register for the conference and submit their paper abstracts by October 15.

CFP: Plantas sagradas en las Américas


Call for Abstracts – Plantas sagradas en las Américas (Sacred Plants in the Americas)

The western campus of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS in Spanish), and the anthropologist Beatriz Labate, invite researchers and those interested in topics related to traditional, therapeutic use, history, politics and the legality of psychoactive plants, to submit abstracts with proposals to participate in the upcoming international conference Sacred Plants in the Americas, to be held on February 23 and 24, 2018, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

Sacred Plants in the Americas has the primary purpose of exploring and discussing aspects related to the diversity of uses of psychoactive plants throughout history and in different geographical areas, as well as their current use, both in traditional and non-traditional contexts, scientific research, empirical experiences, cultural manifestations and the ways in which governments have attempted to control these practices.

The issues of drug policy reform are intersectional, particularly in Latin American. The public, political and academic discussions in Mexico over the last two years have primarily focused on the regulation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Recently a federal reform was approved, so it is pertinent to provide spaces for discussion on other topics, such as those concerning sacred plants and their increasing diversity of uses.

The content of the Congress will be divided into: history and anthropology of shamanic and religious uses of sacred plants, traditional medicine, urban and contemporary uses, science on the therapeutic uses of plants and their psychoactive compounds, as well as the politics surrounding them.

Those interested in participating are invited to submit abstracts on the following topics:

• History and ethnography of the traditional use of sacred plants.
• History and ethnography of urban and contemporary uses of sacred plants.
• Biomedical and psychological studies related to the therapeutic use of psychoactive plants and compounds.
• Analysis of the consequences of policies associated with sacred plant use and reform proposals.
• Sustainability and conservation of sacred plants and their relationship with physical spaces.
• Political economy of the use of sacred plants (production, transit, commercialization, tourism).
• Gender and identity issues related to the use of sacred plants.

Registration Process

Those interested in presenting at the conference must send their abstract via the form at the bottom of this webpage: . The abstract should be a maximum length of 250 words, and include the title of the presentation, and a paragraph with biographical information. Deadline: October 27, 2017.

The abstracts will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary scientific committee that will select the proposals whose topics are more relevant to the discussion, and that are more attached to the topics proposed in this invitation. Accepted applicants will be notified via email on December 1, 2017. Travel and accommodation expenses must be covered by participants.

For more information about the conference, visit the conference website:

AAA Conference Student Travel Awards

If you’re a graduate student and presenting at the 2017 AAAs, then you qualify for one of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) Conference Student Travel Awards!

The SMA offers conference travel support to five SMA graduate students, who have had abstracts accepted to the annual meeting of the AAA. The awards will be given out at the SMA Business Meeting during the AAA meeting in the form of $500 checks. Eligibility is restricted to student members of the SMA, who are presenting papers or posters at the AAA meeting.

Applications should include the following:

  1. Proof of current SMA student membership.
  2. Copy of the conference abstract.
  3. Proof of acceptance of the abstract.
  4. Recommendation letter from an advisor (directly sent by the recommender as an email attachment to the committee chair, Alexander Roedlach  <>.

Awards will be evaluated based on significance, innovation, and clarity of the submitted abstract, as well as the strength of the letter of support from the advisor, who should discuss the significance of the to-be-presented work. If students applying for this award co-author their poster or paper abstract with a faculty or professional anthropologist, a higher standard is expected. If students are co-authoring a poster or paper with another student, then the single award will be split between the two, should the abstract be selected.

Please compile supporting materials 1-3 in a single file and save it in PDF format. Email these materials and any direct inquiries to the SMA Student Travel Award committee at . The deadline for submissions is yearly on September 24. Awardees will be notified by October 2.

Remembering Michael Agar (1945-2017)

On May 20, 2017, Michael Agar, one of the world’s most famous anthropologist of drugs and founding member of the Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Study Group passed away. Below is a two-part obituary honoring Michael’s life and work. The first part, “The Professional Stranger,” was written by Michael himself, and the second part, “Mike Agar,” was written by fellow ADTSG member Bryan Page​.

RIP Michael

“The Professional Stranger”

in his own words:

Michael H. Agar was born in Chicago right around the time of the German surrender at the end of WWII in 1945. After an uneventful childhood of dirt clod wars at housing construction sites and memorized recitations of the Baltimore catechism, he was forcibly relocated to Livermore, California, in 1956, when his father took a job at the new Lawrence Radiation Lab. He always considered it his hometown, strange mix of cowboys and science that it was. Since he was particularly good at multiple-choice tests, he was able to attend Stanford, courtesy of the then abundant – and now endangered – concept of financial aid, graduating with a degree in anthropology in 1967. While there he arranged his own year abroad program with the help of a crypto-anarchist dean and anthropology professor Alan Beals. Mike worked in a small village in South India and then returned to enjoy the shift from beer to marijuana that had occurred in his absence. He had turned into an internationalist – and, therefore, in the eyes of many of his friends’ parents, a communist – with his experiences during high school as an exchange student in Austria and as a fieldworker in South India. Off he went to grad school at the Language Behavior Research Lab at Berkeley, leaving with a PhD in 1971. Life changed with the Vietnam War when he gratefully accepted a commission in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service during graduate school. Instead of becoming a South Asianist, with the help of his graduate advisor, Paul Kay, he turned into a lifelong drug expert, an ironic career for a 60’s Berkeley student. He taught at several universities, foreign and domestic, the most noteworthy of the foreign gigs being two stints in linguistics at the University of Vienna and several at the Intercultural Management Institute at the Kepler University in Linz. His most extensive domestic position was in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland where he helped develop and run a program to train practitioners, rather than academic researchers. By the mid-90’s he set off on his own as Ethknoworks, and, in fact, will be available as a ghost for a while on the home page

He wrote a lot – son of a journalist and a photographer – and considered himself a craftsman who worked with ideas rather than materials. His main reward was when a student came up after a talk and thanked him for help in solving a problem in the student’s own work. His concept of “languaculture,” modified from Friedrich’s original “linguaculture,” had a major impact in applied linguistics, and his article on the crack cocaine epidemic helped change discriminatory drug laws. His first book, Ripping and Running, opened new directions in ethnography and helped start the field of cognitive science. The Professional Stranger served as a resource for many students embarking on their first fieldwork. There were other books – Independents Declared, Speaking of Ethnography, and Dope Double Agent, to name a few. His last was a book called The Lively Science, an attempt to show how human social research was a different kind of science. Mike also left behind a draft manuscript behind called Culture: How to Make It Work in a World of Hybrids. He received an award here and there, but those never mattered much to him, except for the Career Award from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), which bought cash to free him from faculty meetings for several years. He sought work that passed the “trinity test” – intellectually interesting, with moral value, which paid the rent. He was grateful that so much of life was filled with work that met those conditions.

Mike will miss his life partner of many years, who recently became his wife, Ellen Taylor, his sister, Mary, and brother, Tom, and their kids and grandkids, a few friends who endured over the years, and the birds and animals who still drop by the acre of New Mexican desert that he and Ellen called home, for food and water.

Mike died peacefully in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 20, 2017. He would be honored by any donations in his memory to Somos Un Pueblo Unido, La Familia Medical Center, or any Santa Fe-based animal rights organization or sanctuary.

“Mike Agar”

Mike’s own narrative about his life helps the reader to comprehend how his birth (at the end of World War II) childhood (in Chicago and Livermore, California) high school (including an exchange visit to Austria) college (Stanford, with the opportunity to spend time in South India) and his doctoral studies at Berkeley strung together the set of formative experiences that resulted in such a man. His mercurial forays into linguistics, social science method, junkie behavior, drug policy and epidemiology, and the anthropological view displayed protean interests and insatiable curiosity. Behavioral drug researchers everywhere drew inspiration from his ethnoscientific analysis of copping in Ripping and Running. His treatment of the anthropological role in field work, The Professional Stranger, resonated with a much larger audience of anthropologists who had been in the position of the unknown other. More importantly, it communicated to non-anthropologists what the conduct of field research requires of anthropologists and other ethnographers.

His impact on how we think about language, social inquiry, justice, and human behavior was extensive, and it receives due credit in his own assessment. In his own narrative, however, he could not be expected to reflect on his interpersonal relations with fellow anthropologists and social and behavioral scientists. Mike had charm. He directed his gaze into the eyes of whomever he was talking to as if they were the only other person in the room. His expression was pleasantly earnest. He was not just unfailingly polite, but he showed genuine interest and often offered encouragement. His interactive style made him many friends and drew colleagues to collaborate with him. The rest of us tended to admire him as the “cool guy.”

Luckily, we’ll be able to continue reading and re-reading Mike’s flowing prose and reconsidering his formidable insights into the things that interest us most. But from now on, we can’t look forward to new reflections and insights, such as the ones that delighted us in Dope Double Agent. We won’t be seeing him in the halls of our professional meetings, enjoying his wit or just the pleasantness of his being around. To me, he was the master of the completely different, and I’ll miss the prospect of running into Mike by chance and hearing him one more time.

Bryan Page

CDP Accepting Submissions!

Looking for a venue to publish that article you’ve been working on? Consider submitting it to Contemporary Drug Problems (CDP)!!

CDP publishes scholarly work on drugs that regularly draws on critical perspectives from medical anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, and history. For example, in recent issues, they’ve published the following articles:

“Drug Use Assemblages: Substances, Subjects, and the City”…/full/10.1177/0091450916670268

“Harm Reduction in Process: The ACON Rovers, GHB, and the Art of Paying Attention”…/full/10.1177/0091450916661821

“Coming Off Drugs: A Critical History of the Withdrawing Body”…/full/10.1177/0091450916666641

“Drug Use and Affective Politics: The Political Implications of Social Emotional Training”…/full/10.1177/0091450916660818

“Making Up the ‘Drug-Abusing Immigrant’: Knowledge Production in Swedish Social Work and Drug Treatment Contexts, 1960s–2011″”…/full/10.1177/0091450916687649

Formula Stories of the “Substance-Using Client”: Addicted, Unreliable, Deteriorating, and Stigmatized”…/full/10.1177/0091450917698963

Check out CDP at !!

ADTSG 2017 Graduate Student Paper Prize

The Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Study Group (ADTSG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology invites submissions for the best graduate student paper in the anthropology of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or other psychoactive substance use. A committee of ADTSG members will judge qualifying submissions.  The author of the winning paper will receive a cash award of $100, and her or his name will be announced at the Society for Medical Anthropology awards ceremony at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November.  Submissions from all anthropological sub-disciplines are encouraged.


  • No more than 9,000 words
  • Must be based on original fieldwork and data
  • Must have been written in the past 12 months
  • Primary or first author must be a graduate student at time of submission
  • May be unpublished or submitted for publication at the time of submission


  • Originality of fieldwork and data
  • Richness of substantive or evidentiary materials
  • Clarity of anthropological methods
  • Linkage of work to social science literature
  • Effective use of theory and data
  • Organization, quality of writing, and coherence of argument


  • Please do not include your name or any identifying information in the paper itself.
  • Papers must be double spaced and in PDF format (please include page numbers).
  • References and in-text citations should be formatted according to Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Please submit via email to Shana Harris, Chair of ADTSG, at
  • Submissions must be received by 5:00PM EST on July 1, 2017, for full consideration.

Questions may be directed to Shana Harris at the above email address. We look forward to your submissions!

Thank you for coming to Santa Fe!

Thank you to everyone who made it to the ADTSG Business Meeting at the SfAAs last week in Santa Fe!  Veteran and new members mingled and talked business while enjoying sandwiches that were  graciously provided by the SfAA Business Office Team.  A special thank you to the Business Team for also allowing ADTSG to gather in their hospitality suite.  It was great to meet in a sunny room over a light lunch!

Stay tuned for updates and information discussed at the meeting!

Drug Events at 2017 SfAA Annual Meeting

It’s almost time for the 2017 SfAA Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico!

The conference schedule shows a lot of people engaging with the topics of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and other psychoactive substances!  Below is a list of activities and presentations that will be of interest to ADTSG members, many of which also involve several of our members.  Of special note is the ADTSG Business Meeting on Friday, March 31, 2017, at 12:00-1:30 in the La Fonda Hospitality Suite (Room 501) and is open to all!

Tuesday, March 28

3:30pm – 5:20pm (Exchange, La Fonda)

  • Paper: “No Amount of Alcohol Should Be Considered Safe”: Mapping the New Frontier of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Addicted Pregnancy in New Mexico (Presenter: Danielle M. Kabella)

Wednesday, March 29

8:00am – 9:50am (Santa Fe, La Fonda)

  • Paper: The Budtender: Economic Junctures within the Denver Cannabis Industry (Presenter: Lia Berman)

1:30pm – 3:20pm (Santa Fe, La Fonda)

  • Paper: Poison and Pleasure: The Meanings of Alcohol Use among Marshall Islanders in the US (Presenters: Michael Duke and Caleb Klipowicz)

5:30pm – 7:20pm (Zuni North, Inn at Loretto)

  • Panel: Global Dealings with Addictive Substances

Thursday, March 30

10:00am – 11:50am (Zuni North, Inn at Loretto)

  • Paper: “Doing” Recovery: Digital Storytelling as an Ethnographic Intervention to Address the Perinatal and Postpartum Substance Use Continuum (Presenters: Alice Fiddian-Green and Mary Paterno)

1:30pm – 3:20pm (Rivera B, Drury)

  • Panel: Drug, Food, Medicine: Emerging Topics in the Anthropology of Consumption, Part I

1:30pm – 3:20pm (New Mexico, La Fonda)

  • Panel: Landscapes of Loss and Recovery: The Anthropology of Police-Community Relations and Harm Reduction

5:30pm – 7:20pm (Rivera B, Drury)

  • Panel: Stigma and Addiction: Anthropological Examinations

Friday, March 31

12:00pm – 1:30pm (La Fonda Hospitality Suite (Room 501))

  • ADTSG Business Meeting

Saturday, April 1

8:00am – 11:50am (Hopi Board Room, Inn at Loretto)

  • Workshop: Cannabis Research and Creative Work

12:00pm – 1:20pm (Ballroom South, La Fonda)

  • Paper: Examining the Structural Vulnerabilities in Substance Use and HIV Risk among Latinos in Rural Communities in Southern California (Presenters: Ann Cheney and Katheryn Rodriguez)

1:30pm – 3:20pm (Zuni South, Inn at Loretto)

  •  Paper: At the Edge of Care: How Does Deservingness Interpose Between Prenatal Care and Substance Use in Pregnancy? (Presenter: Megan Huchko)

SMA Honors J. Bryan Page for 20 Years of Service in Song

ADTSG member, J. Bryan Page, was honored at the 2016 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Minneapolis for his two decades of service to the Society for Medical Anthropology and the discipline!  Below is the full story about the Bryan’s work and the award ceremony.

Congratulations, Bryan!


As the 2016 Business Meeting came to a close, we enjoyed, as we have for twenty years now, a song honoring outgoing board members and encouraging continuing and new members in their work, written and performed by J. Bryan Page. The songs have been varied and sometimes Dr. Page brings an instrument or has friends help; this time, C. Lance Gravlee also sang. As this year’s song concluded, and Dr. Page turned to make for his seat, he was summoned back to the front of the room by President EJ Sobo, to receive an ad hoc service award for his longstanding musical contributions to SMA.

“I will never forget the look on Bryan Page’s face,” said Dr. Sobo, who delighted in sharing news of the award with Dr. Page. After her brief commemoration, and presentation of a plaque honoring Dr. Page for “20 years of Service in Song,” the audience burst into song spontaneously, joyfully offering up another chorus of Dr. Page’s 2016 honorific composition, singing “He gave us his talent and time, talent and time. He gave us his talent and time” to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  f you missed the SMA Business Meeting last November, you can listen to the song here.

The honorific tradition began spontaneously itself, as a response, said Dr. Page, “to Sue Estroff’s request at the Business Meeting in 1993 that we make our interest group reports brief and entertaining.” Page stood up when his turn came (his report concerned The Alcohol and Drug Study Group), and then “sang the whole thing in 90 seconds.”

“I thought my song would be a one-time thing,” Page continued, ”but I soon learned from Tom Johnson that there were expectations for the next year (1994 in Atlanta) so I did a take-off on a Mexican corrido.  We started doing honorifics at Carole Browner’s request in 1996, with a send-up of Bach’s Weinachts Oratorium. [SMA thus took 1996 as the official honorific start date.] There were two hiatus years: one in 2000 when Bill Dressler wanted to change things up and in 2004 when we had the hotel workers’ strike.”

SMA is fortunate to have benefited from Dr. Page’s musical largesse for so long (it is, we confess, the main Business meeting attraction for many members). Dr. Page has been a musical performer all of his adult life, singing in chamber groups, church choirs, and as a duo with his younger brother. “My music came in handy during my field work in Latin American locations,” he told us, adding “I also sang as a tenor and countertenor soloist with the University of Florida Symphony, The Florida Philharmonic, the Duke Chapel Choir, and the Costa Rican National Symphony.” On January 20, this year, he performed a solo recital in Miami.

n terms of his scholarship, Dr. Page specializes in studying the consumption of drugs in urban, street based settings. His 42-year career in the anthropology of drug use has focused on the consequences and impacts of various patterns of legal and illegal drug use in a wide variety of cultural settings. His publications include over 100 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and numerous other materials, plus two peer reviewed books co-authored with Merrill Singer (The Social Value of Drug Addicts, 2014; Comprehending Drug Use, 2010). After serving fourteen years as Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Miami, he is returning to a mix of teaching and research.

CFP AAA 2017: The Face of the American Opioid Crisis

Call for Papers – AAA 2017

The Face of the American Opioid Crisis

Katie Rynkiewich, Trish Urdzik, and Shannon Satterwhite
(on behalf of the Research on U.S. Health and Healthcare Special Interest Group)

High-profile celebrity deaths from opioid use and the recent authorization of over $900 million for opioid prevention from the United States Congress have demonstrated that the opioid crisis and its effects are becoming increasingly evident. From studies of opioid use by women who are pregnant (Knight 2015) to critical work on race-based disparities in addiction treatment (Hansen 2015), the opioid crisis spans issues of gender, race, and the economy. With this panel, we intend to create a space for narratives of addiction and responses to the structural and cultural conditions within which the epidemic has emerged.

This panel invites papers from anthropologists working on U.S.-based projects focused on opioids in the United States. We are interested, in particular, on ethnographic research contributing to the following types of questions:
-What types of individuals and groups are caught up in the opioid epidemic?
-What are the consequences of current policy on opioid use and prescribing?
-What parallels can be drawn with other forms of drug use in the United States?
-How is the opioid crisis being covered in the American media?

To submit an abstract for this panel, please use this google form (and click on “The Face of the American Opioid Crisis”) by April 1: