Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology

Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology

 AAA Establishes Working Group to Monitor
Racialized Police Brutality/Extrajudicial Violence

To help reduce police-related violence by applying anthropological knowledge and expertise, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has established a Working Group on Racialized Police Brutality and Extrajudicial Violence. The working group, which falls under the aegis of the Association’s Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology, will track the historical and contemporary trajectory of racialized police brutality and extrajudicial violence in the United States, and develop resources to help mitigate its impact.

The working group will establish databases of AAA members with relevant expertise, resources for funding basic research and engagement activities, bibliographic resources and publication sites, and groups documenting incidents of racialized police brutality and extrajudicial violence. The group will also work to place AAA subject-matter experts in important public conversations on the subject of racialized police brutality.

Co-chaired by David Simmons (University of South Carolina) and Marla Frederick (Harvard University), the working group also includes Shalini Shankar (Northwestern University), Dana-Ain Davis (CUNY, Queens College), Bianca Williams (University of Colorado, Boulder), Ruth Gomberg-Munoz (Loyola University), Maurice Magana (UCLA), and Lynn Bolles (University of Maryland).

To view the Working Group charge, go here

Committee Charge

In 1992 a Planning Group for a AAA Commission on Minority Issues recommended the creation of a Commission on Minority Issues, which was tasked with creating the organization and objectives of a standing Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology.In 1993 that Commission determined three focal areas of concern for the new standing Committee: attracting minorities to the discipline and the Association; overcoming the alienation of Native Americans to the discipline, and defining anthropology's roles in public discourses about cultural diversity.In 2007 the AAA Executive Board established the Commission on Race and Racism in Anthropology (CRRA) to review and make recommendations regarding the organization and responsibilities of the CMIA.Based on the CRRA recommendations, the charge and structure of the CMIA were modified in 2013.

Committee Charge

Objective:Foster professional advancement of U.S. racialized minorities in anthropology. Attract such minorities to and retain them in the discipline and the Association. Promote intellectual awareness within the discipline and Association of issues that face such minority anthropologists. Help define anthropology's role in U.S. discourses on racism.

Duration of Committee: Permanent

Committee Reports to:The Executive Board

Term of Office:3-year terms


  • Develop opportunities to educate colleagues at all levels of the profession about issues which impact racialized anthropologists in the US and about their contributions to core anthropological issues.
  • Collaborate with sections, especially those representing the various subfields and those representing racialized anthropologists to work to reduce racism in the association and in the discipline and enhance the professional experience of anthropologists of color.
  • Coordinate with other AAA committees, task forces, and commissions that deal with minority issues on topics and activities of common concern.
  • Interact with US and other interested department heads at the AAA meetings and by email to share information on the importance of diversity for faculty, staff, and graduate students and the best practices for achieving such diversity.
  • Make recommendations to the Executive Board regarding the recipient of the Minority Fellowship Award and develop additional forms of mentoring young racialized minority professionals.
  • Disseminate results of activities and findings in organized events at the Annual Meeting and in the Anthropology News to educate Association members and the general public
  • Develop pragmatic and measurable indices for examining progress toward meeting the above objectives, including monitoring statistics on racial/ethnic diversity.
  • ·Participate in the Association's long range and strategic planning processes on issues of racialized minority recruitment and retention.
  • Membership and Appointment:

  • 7 members, including the Chair.
  • The Chair and 1 member will be appointed by the AAA President.
  • In consultation with the AAA President, 3 members will be designated, 1 each, by the presidents of the following sections from among their members: Association of Black Anthropologists, Association of Indigenous Anthropologists, and Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists.
  • 2 members will be elected by the membership at-large.
  • President and President-elect/Vice President sit Ex-officio.

    Staff Liaison: Andrew Russell, American Anthropological Association 2300 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 1301, Arlington, VA 22201 703/528-1902

  • Current projects include seeking funding for supporting minority scholarship in anthropology at all levels, developing linkages with minority anthropologists, and assisting in defining anthropology's role in the discourse on cultural diversity. An ongoing activity is the development of a comprehensive database of minority anthropologists, including information on members' expertise on file, which can be made available to departments recruiting faculty or to funding agencies seeking reviewers.

    AAA seeks racial/ethnic demographic information about anthropology students, faculty and practitioners. This information is gathered through surveys of academic departments and information solicited from AAA members.

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