The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

2023 HPSfAA Fall Retreat at the Ghost Ranch Retreat Center

  • Thursday, October 12, 2023
  • 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 15, 2023
  • 12:00 PM
  • Ghost Ranch Retreat Center, Abiquiu, New Mexico and online


  • Description
    Open to our members only. 65+ years only.
    Must show proof of ID at conference at check-in.
  • Open to our members only. 65+ years only. Must show proof of ID at conference when checking in.
  • Must show valid proof of Student ID upon on-site check-in.

Registration is closed

HPSfAA Fall Retreat 2023

¡Program and Zoom Link Down Below!

Thursday, October 12th through Sunday, October 15th

Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico

“A Literal and Figurative Retreat from

Ordinary Work in Extraordinary Times”

  Historically our annual fall retreat at Ghost Ranch has been a time to intentionally leave behind the pomp of academic conferences to connect less formally as a community of practice made up of applied social scientists. We recognize our retreat not only as a space we create to hold our work, our reflections, and our support for one another, but also a symbolic and literal movement across time and space to be present in a specific point together as a community. We gather to sit together in the liminality of perpetually becoming.

  It has become a trope of the 2020s that we live in perpetually unprecedented times. Without minimizing the tumult and dynamism of our present, it is important to recognize that there was never a time when our experience as human beings has been without shattering events and system-wide instability. We are, as applied social scientists, far from harboring an illusion of an overly simplistic literal or figurative “good old days.” Instead, perhaps what has shifted is that now it is less likely that individuals can continue to imagine themselves to be untouched by changing times.

  This fall HPSfAA retreat, we seek to apply an anthropological eye to contemporary factors that have led to complex changes across our social, economic, political, and ecological systems. Often mythologized  colonial and settler-colonial individuals are no longer able to be fully removed from the consequences of the ecocide their societies have committed around the world for generations, which has upended any sense of predictable seasons or climate zones. Political upheaval and autocratic factions have sparked chaos and confusion  in countries formerly thought to be exempt from such concerns, and challenged our demarcation of political spaces. Artificial intelligence sits poised to displace the privileged space which the human mind was thought to hold as an essential actant in the creation and synthesis of art and information. While our technologies have grown to mimic our creativity as an algorithmic experiment, they likewise have undermined the predictability of the complex systems which govern hot and cold air or water currents, precipitation, and intensity of weather events. These shifts create ripples which add tumult to agriculture, public health, politics, and our economies. 

  These changes have also created a need for applied anthropologists to navigate new nuance in our work and to strategize for emergent changes on the horizon that will affect the communities we work with and within. We therefore  request presentations, workshops, and performances which speak to how the dynamism and change are addressed within your/our work. We also want to explicitly turn a critical eye to our concept of “retreat” and explore togetherwhat it means to step into a state of respite? As always, we also welcome presentations that are not related to the retreat theme.

  As an added bonus this year, we have the fortune of being able to leave the liminal space of our retreat to appreciate perhaps the most iconic liminality—a solar eclipse. This stellar event will be visible only a couple of hours away from Ghost Ranch, and we will be encouraging a “breakout session” on Saturday morning to view it.

Thank you,

Fall Retreat Planning Committee

Lucor Jordan, President HPSfAA


Fall Retreat Schedule

Saturday, October 14th

6am - 1pm: Breakout session: Solar Eclipse Viewing Trip to Chaco Culture National Historical Park

2:15pm - 3:00pm: Howard Stein, “Poetry Reading and Discussion: Applied Anthropological Poetry: Retreat, Respite, Renewal.”

3:15PM - 4:00PM: Roundtable - Proprietary or Public: Methodology TMI, and Practice in the Nonprofit Sector.

Sunday, October 15th

10am - 12pm: Social time, Ghost Ranch hiking and Goodbyes

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