Royal Anthropological Institute Student Conference

This year, the annual RAI student conference comes to Durham, combining with their regular student conference. Panel spaces at the conference are open to students of all levels and there are multiple other ways to get involved. If you are interested, please respond to the call for papers by 6 March 2017.
For any more details contact or

Some say we are living in a ‘post-truth’ world, punctuated by the ‘shocks’ of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election, heated debates over the ‘migrant crisis’, climate change, and vaccines, where expertise is ignored and ‘objective fact’ surrenders to emotion and belief. If so, what might ‘post-truth’ mean for anthropology? We believe it urges us to reconsider how anthropology examines people in both a socio-cultural and evolutionary context; to reflect on the evidence underpinning such ideas, and the purposes of the knowledge we generate. In light of the multi-disciplinary nature of Durham Anthropology, and the spirit of our 70/50 Anniversary celebrations, we invite undergraduate and postgraduate students from all sub-disciplines of anthropology to reflect on their work in this ‘post-truth’ world. In doing so we hope to examine the purpose, place and possible roles of anthropological knowledge and of anthropologists within it, and seek a wider exploration of the notions of ‘truth’ and ‘expertise’. By combining the diverse approaches anthropologists’ use, we seek to construct a method of speaking more clearly to one another, and in doing, speak more clearly to the wider world.


We welcome proposals that emerge from (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Reflections on anthropology's role(s) in the world
  • Examinations of knowledge and expertise
  • Considerations of conspiracy, rumour and 'truthlessness'
  • Evolutionary understandings of human behaviour
  • Rethinking modes of anthropological dissemination and engagement (e.g. collaborative research)
  • Knowledge and 'truth' in human/non-human cognition
  • Opportunities/obstacles for intervention and activism
  • Patient interaction with/rejection of medical knowledge(s) and practices
  • Critical perspectives on human rights, social/environmental (in)justice, resource extraction, food security/sovereignty, health, and ill-being

We especially welcome submissions that speak across anthropological sub-disciplines.

Submit your proposals with your name, institution, email address, title and abstract (300 words max) to

Submission deadline 6 March 2017
Acceptance notification 20 March 2017
Registration deadline 1 April 2017
Registration fee £10

Paper based on on-going research (e.g. dissertations and theses).  Please state if you would like to be considered for either a seven or fifteen minute slot.

Poster about your current or proposed research. To be displayed throughout the event, with a social session dedicated to presentations.

A/V media to be exhibited in a format that will be anounced closer to the conference. Submit a trailer or taster with your abstract.


Past Conferences

RAI First Annual Postgraduate Conference - Durham University, 20 September 2011, a Special Edition of the Durham Anthropology Journal is dedicated to the conference. This can be read here.

Breaking Bubbles: Anthropology for our Future (RAI Undergraduate Conference) - University of Kent, 3-4 March 2012

RAI Second Annual Postgraduate Conference - University of Kent, 13 September 2012

Closer Encounters: Bringing Anthropology Home (RAI Undergraduate Conference) - University of St Andrews, 12-13 April 2013

RAI Third Annual Postgraduate Conference - University of Aberdeen, 28-29 October 2013

RAI Fourth Annual Postgraduate Conference - Brunel University, 3-4 September 2014

RAI Fifth Annual Postgraduate Conference - University of Manchester, 4-5 June 2015

RAI Sixth Annual Student Conference - Oxford Brookes University, 18 May 2016

RAI Seventh Annual Student Conference - Durham University, 20-22 April 2017