1.1. The idea of providing anthropology postgraduate students at Durham with a forum for discussing their own research emerged several years ago. Following a writing seminar in 2001, what began as a casual conversation with Michael Carrithers ended up as a small committee whose self-appointed remit was to organise a short, one-day postgraduate conference at the end of the 2002 academic year. Anselma Gallinat spearheaded the effort, assisted by Jana Tiklova and Adam Kaul. With the kind assistance of Paul Sant-Cassia, we secured a conference room at Grey College. The department provided funds for lunch and coffee, and the "First Annual Anthropology Postgraduate Conference" went off without a hitch. It was deemed a success by all, an event organised and run by postgrads, for postgrads. The "First Annual" part of the title was, as it turns out, slightly ambitious. Given the constraints of writing up, fieldwork and data collection, it took us another two years to return to the effort. This year, with a successful precedent firmly behind us, the bar was raised on the quality of the conference. Motivated once again by Anselma Gallinat, Rob Aspden chaired the 2004 organising committee, assisted by Trudi Buck, Vasco Fernandes, Adam Kaul and Erik Willems.
1.2. The goals of events like these are always are multifarious. Originally, we wanted to provide postgraduates a formal, yet comfortable academic environment to receive constructive criticism from their peers and interested faculty. The secondary goal was to give postgraduate students conference experience. But of course, we soon realised that an annual conference might eventually become one of several events in the year that 'bring the department together'. This occurs in several ways. First, we made great strides this year to bring together the Durham and Stockton campus students with great success. We hope this inter-campus collaboration will continue to grow in future years. Secondly, these conferences literally bring the department in all its diversity together in the same room to discuss biological, medical and social anthropology.
1.3. A strong component of our department's research trajectory, which is in turn reflected in the research of our postgraduate students, is the sheer amount of collaboration and communication between these anthropological sub-disciplines. In a department like ours, this goal is not only noble, but necessary. It is often all too easy to pigeonhole ourselves as 'social', 'medical' or 'biological' anthropologists, but as the conference environment clearly showed, we are not a department that is divided into two or three distinct houses. Bob Layton gave an invited plenary paper, which symbolised this kind of 'coming together'. He argued that, to a large degree, the impediments to collaboration between the sub-disciplines have already been overcome. During the conference, we were also delighted to find that 'social' anthropology staff asked tough questions of the 'biological' students and vice versa. It proved that interdisciplinarity, or rather, our brand of sub-disciplinarity, is valuable and productive.
1.4. The papers given at the 2004 conference reflect our department's diversity. There were several papers and posters that were for the most part 'biological' (Erik Willems, Sally Stevens, Rob Aspden, Trudi Buck and Suzanne Freilich) or clearly 'social' (Julia Panther, Vasco Fernandes, Naz Iqbal, Adam Kaul and Helen Cookson), but there were also a number that were less distinctly categorised (Emma Heslop, Rachel Cassidy and Charlotte Russell). Moreover, many of the papers that were more firmly grounded in social or biological views of humanity still provided conceptual links between the sub-disciplines. For example, Julia Panther's analysis of a local co-operative exchange trading system and Rob Aspden's abstract usage of the market to understand capuchin grooming behaviour in a "biological market" provided one such link, and a great deal of discussion.
1.5. With encouragement from Steve Lyon, we have put together the following edition of the Durham Anthropology Journal to continue the spirit of the conference: to encourage collaboration across the sub-disciplines of anthropology, and to create a research forum run by postgraduate students, for postgraduate students. Happily, this is in line with the goals of the newly re-instated departmental journal, outlined in the previous edition (Lyon, 2004:2). The following articles are intended to reflect the diversity of student research in this department and the discipline as a whole.
1.6. Four of the students who gave presentations at the conference have been given the opportunity to publish in this special edition. As a reflection of the discipline itself, these articles include the sub-disciplines of biological and sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology and archaeology. In keeping with the conference itself, three of the articles result from oral presentations (Rob Aspden, Rachel Casiday and Vasco Fernandes) whilst the fourth is a product of a presentation made in poster format (Charlotte Russell). Giving papers as poster presentations is not common in social anthropology so this was a seen as a great opportunity for their introduction and one we hope was not only received well this year but also can be encouraged in future conferences. The posters by Helen Cookson and Suzanne Frielich can also be found in this special edition of the DAJ and sections of Rachel's poster accompany her article. The paper presented by our guest speaker, Bob Layton, is included in the form of extensive presentation notes accompanied with both complete references and the figures used.
1.7. We would like to thank all the students who gave papers and posters for the conference, and all of the students and staff who enthusiastically provided questions and discussion. Special thanks to our guest speaker, Bob Layton. Thanks also to Rob Barton and Michael Carrithers who provided opening and closing statements. Paul Sillitoe, whose support we could not have done without, must be particularly thanked as well. Finally, thanks goes out to Steve Lyon for the opportunity to publish this special edition of DAJ . We sincerely hope that the 2002 and 2004 conferences, and this special issue of DAJ set a framework for future events and publications run by and for postgraduate students.