116th Annual Meeting in DC

Annual Meeting by the Numbers


The 2017 Annual Meeting Mattered!

More than 6,500 attendees gathered in November/December for the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. They participated in 844 sessions, panels, and roundtables; in 31 workshops; multiple gallery spaces; and events on Capitol Hill and across Washington DC. We discussed the contemporary political landscape and its aggressive attacks on human rights, the planet, and our communities. We planned actions, developing strategies for sustainable and engaged resistance. This was the highest concentration of anthropologists in one area in a long time. It is worth reflecting internally for a moment and asking “Did the Annual Meeting matter for us?”

I think it did.

It mattered for all the students participating in their first sessions: meeting their peers, future colleagues, authors of so many of their favorite books/articles, and then finding out that some of them are amazing and others not so much, but that all are part of the anthropological dynamic.

It mattered for the students and faculty from smaller schools and community colleges, rural areas, and underserved urban spaces, who seldom have the support and access that so many in the elite and research universities take for granted. The meeting offered opportunities to network, to hear and learn, to be heard, and to participate in shaping the discipline.

It mattered for the anthropologists outside of the academy as they reminded their academic peers of their important contributions and the critical and central roles that collaboration inside and out plays for all of anthropology.

It mattered for the anthropologists of color who in most departments are immersed in a sea of whiteness, but at the Annual Meeting can see a bit more color in the landscape. The meeting offered expanded prospects to find a wider complex of connectivity, unity, and action, and the opportunity to continue to collaborate and to continue to push against the profoundly racialized biases of the academy.

It mattered for the job seekers, the friends who see each other only once a year, the non-anthropologists invited to immerse in our milieu, the now established professors who organized fêtes for their mentors, the accidental collaborators, the first-time author seeing her book on display, and so many more.

It mattered for our professional organization, the AAA, as the staff work tirelessly across the year to produce, develop, and implement the infrastructure for our gathering, enabling it to matter for all of us.

In my call for the Annual Meeting, I asked us to continue to move beyond divisive debates about ownership, terminology, and classification and into fruitful dialogues across and throughout our practices. I hoped we’d gather in opposition to strict boundaries, spill across academic divides, and blur the synthetic lines that isolate good questions from generously intellectual and fearlessly anthropological investigation. I challenged us to demonstrate why anthropology matters in the academy, in the larger world, across time, and to us.

For many attendees, some of these goals were experienced, and they took heart, leaving the meetings excited about their work, their discipline, and their contributions. But for others, this was not the case. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we need to work on the registration process, assuring reasonable accommodations for attendees who need them, increase our media coverage, and reduce our carbon footprint by greening the meetings even more. Anthropology does matter, but it needs to matter more.

The 2018 meeting theme “Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation” offers us another chance to gather and a renewed inspiration. Imagining how we can matter more, and figuring out ways to make that a reality, is at the heart of what anthropology is all about. See you in San José.

Anthropology Day 2017


Each year hundreds of anthropology students, professors, and enthusiasts come together to celebrate their love of the discipline on Anthropology Day. Started in 2015 as a way to encourage anthropologists to share and celebrate the discipline with the world around them, Anthropology Day has grown into an anthropological celebration with a global reach. In 2017 registrants joined us from more than a dozen countries including Belize, Guatemala, Lebanon, Kenya, India, and Turkey. Posts on social media reached millions of users across six continents.

Anthropology Day allows each participating group to celebrate the day in the way they choose, making the activities as diverse as the field. Each year groups plan activities ranging from department open houses to trivia nights to workshops in K–12 classrooms.

In 2017, AAA staff joined in and partnered with Archaeology in the Community (AITC) to visit schools in Washington, DC. AAA staffers, along with volunteers from AITC, National Geographic, the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists, George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the Society for American Archaeology made seven presentations about anthropology to more than 200 elementary and middle school students.

More than 180 campus anthropology groups, departments of anthropology, museums, high schools, and other organizations planned Anthropology Day events. Members of the Anthropological Society of the Los Angeles Valley College celebrated their third Anthropology Day with a “diversity wall,” which asked members of their community to share representations of their various cultures. Randolph-Macon College held a screening of The Anthropologist, featuring a Skype session with one of the film’s creators. Dozens of colleges hosted film screenings, held special community lectures, or organized games. You can find a complete list of activity suggestions on the AAA website at americananthro.org/anthrodayactivities.

Join in the fun and register your group using the registration form at americananthro.org/anthroday and be sure to share photos from your events on social media using #AnthroDay.

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AAA staff teamed up with representatives from Archaeology in the Community, the Society for American Archaeology, National Geographic, George Washington University, and the National Museum of Natural History to visit local schools and conduct virtual presentations to a total of 355 elementary/middle school students.

AAA joins Cultural Heritage Advocacy Coalition

AAA is committed to seeing that anthropological and archaeological research help protect, preserve, and interpret historical properties and cultural resources in the face of anticipated threats to change cultural heritage policies in the US and worldwide.

These are crucial issues for AAA and its members. Cultural heritage resources may be adversely affected by changes in existing antiquities protections and also by changes in energy, environmental protection, and tribal consultation policies. Concerted advocacy efforts are needed to fend off anticipated threats in these and related areas.

In 2017, AAA joined forces with the Society for Historical Archaeology, the American Cultural Resources Association, and the Society for American Archaeology to form the Coalition for American Heritage.

To protect and advance historic preservation, the Coalition is dedicated to safeguarding and ensuring the opportunity for local communities, state and tribal governments, and members of the general public to have a meaningful say in federal government undertakings that affect their heritage. The Coalition is also dedicated to helping protect and advance federal funding for archaeology, anthropology, architecture, and social sciences that supports rigorous scientific research about the past and programs that bring history and science alive for younger generations. The US funds basic research on new technologies, cutting-edge research in the humanities and social science, and collaborative cross-discipline innovations.

Visit the Coalition’s website today to learn more about the bills we are following in Congress and to take action.

Annual Meeting

2018 Calendar

February 15
Anthropology Day
Executive Session
Proposal Submission Deadline

March 16
Minority Dissertation
Fellowship Applications Due
AAA Internship
Program Applications Due

March 26
Founding Day for AAA

April 6
AAA Leadership
Fellows Application Due

April 16
Proposal Deadline for all 2018 Annual Meeting Abstract Submissions

August 31
AAA Photo Contest Submission Deadline

September 14
Call for Late-Breaking Sessions for Annual Meeting Closes

November 14-18
117th AAA Annual Meeting

Annual Meetings