Public Policy/Advocacy

Stand with AAA Against the Latest Threat to Social Science Research

AAA Statement on the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. 3293)

AAA and the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) have serious concerns over the unwarranted repackaging of Section 106 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806), which once again seeks to inhibit legitimate research through the determination of what is "worthwhile science in the national interest." Anthropological research serves the national interest by helping achieve a more just and sustainable society, and the need for such research has never been greater. Read the full AAA statement.

AAA Calls for Illinois Governor to Reconsider Closure of Illinois State Museum System

The Illinois State Museum System's closure would be a dramatic loss to science and cultural heritage education at a time when we can ill-afford to reduce our investments in narrowing the innovation deficit. Read AAA's letter to the governor and find out what you can do to help here.

Kathmandu Cultural Emergency Crowdmap - Earthquake Resource

On April 25, 2015, a severe earthquake in Nepal  resulted in the loss of more than 3,000 lives. It also caused destruction and  serious damage to the historic center of Kathmandu and other heritage sites  throughout the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal plans to re-open three of the damaged  UNESCO World Heritage Sites, though the sites are still in need of $100 million  in repairs. To find out more about plans to re-open sites, click  here. ICOMOS-ICORP and ICCROM have started the  Kathmandu Cultural Emergency Crowdmap to collect information on the damage  caused to cultural heritage sites and institutions in Nepal. If you wish to  participate in this effort, please click here. There is  additional information about the Crowdmap here. Also, please feel free  to share these links with others who may have knowledge about cultural sites in  Nepal. Thank you for your participation. To learn more, click here.

AAA and Other Scholarly Associations Defend Tenure and Academic Freedom in Wisconsin

The American Anthropological Association has joined with 21 other scholarly societies in a statement protesting proposed changes to the structure of the University of Wisconsin system that threaten to undermine tenure, shared governance, and academic freedom in Wisconsin. Read the full statement here.

AAA Statement on the House FY 2016 Commerce,Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) has historically spurred the development of a strong national science and technology enterprise by working with the scientific community to create a shared vision for the future and supporting strong and sustained funding to reach these goals. However, the latest CJS appropriations bill, as passed by the House Appropriations Committee on May 20th, now appears to undermine that commitment. Click here for complete details (PDF).

Need For Immediate Action By U.S. Anthropologists

The National Science Foundation research funding for the social sciences is threatened with a 45% cut in a bill that will be debated on the House floor during the week of May 18. While the cute would be a blow to social sciences in general, anthropology would be hit especially hard. Therefore, if you vote in the U.S., it is essential to write to your member of Congress before the debate. Click here for complete details (PDF).

AAA Organizes Anthropology To Help In Earthquake Aftermath

The American Anthropological Association's heartfelt condolences go out to the people of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that affected more than 6.6 million people and caused widespread damage and destruction throughout the region. Along with anthropologists throughout Asia and beyond, we are committed to supporting those affected in the region as they recover from this tragedy. We are in close contact with colleagues in the area and are also concerned about the damage to the UNESCO World Heritage sites and other important elements of cultural heritage. Our members have a generous history of providing help during times of crisis. The AAA stands ready to organize our community to provide assistance as response, recovery and rehabilitation move forward. How can you help? Click here for a listing of aid organizations (PDF).

AAA Opposes H.R.1806 - The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act
The American Anthropological Association opposes H.R. 1806, The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, because it would decimate federal support for critical programs at the NSF and irreparably damage the U.S. scientific enterprise, particularly at colleges and universities. It also is ill-advised to leave it up to Congress to determine which categories of science funding should be increased and which should be cut. Therefore, we also strongly urge allowing the NSF to decide its own directorate funding through its highly regarded merit review process. Read AAA's letter to the Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman of the Committee of Science, Space and Technology and the Committee's Ranking Member, Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson.

AAA Condemns Indiana RFRA Bill
AAA joins a long list of corporations and citizens throughout the country outraged over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Read the statement (PDF).

AAA Calls on Sports Organizations to Denounce Inappropriate American Indian Mascots
AAA calls on professional and college sports organizations to denounce and abandon the use of American Indian nicknames, logos, and mascots, unless appropriate consultation has taken place with individual tribes and other indigenous stakeholders. Read the statement (PDF). Read Pauline Turner Strong's article Trademarking Racism: Pseudo-Indian Symbols and the Business of Professional Sports in Anthropology Now.

Letter on Prosepctive Termination of the A-Level Qualification in Anthropology
AAA President Monica Heller writes letter to CEO Hall at AQA regarding the announced plans to terminate the recently established A-level qualification in Anthropology and urges the AQA to reconsider its decision to eliminate the program. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Calls for Justice for Mexico's Students
AAA President Monica Heller releases statement (PDF) on the death of the missing students in Mexico.

Letter to Ralph Lauren to Pull Double RL Ads
In a letter to Ralph Lauren, CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation, AAA President requests the termination of the Double RL advertisements, which compromise the corporation's values and are a disservice to its customers. Read the letter (PDF).

Association Calls Anthropologists to Action
AAA President Monica Heller released a public statement (PDF) today on police practices in the United States and called anthropologists into action to create equitable policing.

AAA Urges International Response to Missing Students In Mexico
AAA President Monica Heller releases statement (PDF) following the kidnapping of students and colleagues from Ayotzinapa Teacher Training School.

Anthropologists Announce New Task Force on AAA Engagement with Israel/Palestine
The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association announces (PDF) the creation of the Task Force on AAA Engagement with Israel/Palestine, part of a broad association effort to respond to members' interest in dialogue about the ongoing Israel/Palestine conflict.

AAA's Cultural Heritage Task Force Encourages Preservation
The Cultural Heritage Task Force writes to U.S. Secretary of State encouraging the United States to take action in preserving the cultural heritage sites in Mosul, Iraq. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Urges Congress to Restore Funding to Fulbright Program
In 2015, proposed budget cuts would have a harmful effect on the Fulbright program, describes as the flagship international exchange program in the United States. AAA urges Senators (PDF) and Representatives (PDF) on the Committee of Appropriations' Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs to restore funding levels for the coming year.

AAA Collaborates in Support of Egypt/U.S. Memorandum of Understanding
The MoU enables and encourages collaborative initiatives that aim to support research, to preserve archaeological and historical places, to promote educational exchange programs, and to quell activities that contribute to the illicit trafficking of Egyptian heritage. Read the letter (PDF).

Additional Resources for the Israel/Palestine Conversation
A recent Anthropology News article opens the door for Association-wide conversation on Israel and Palestine. Here is a resource document that provides additional information on the topic. In addition, the Addendum provides additional resources.

AAA Statement on Supreme Court Case Schuette v. Bamn
AAA filed an amicus curiae brief in the case Schuette v. Bamn. Read the Association Statement on the outcome of the case.

Joint Letter to National Geographic Channel International Opposing "Nazi War Diggers"
AAA collaborates with partner organizations to express deep disappointment and grave concern about the upcoming National Geographic Channel International's show Nazi War Diggers. Read the letter (PDF). National Geographic Channel International cancels the show. Read statement from AAA President, Monica Heller and an AAA Press Advisory.

AAA Collaborates in the Coalition for National Science Funding to Make Recommendations on FIRST Act
The Coalition for National Science Funding, in which AAA is a member, writes to the Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to comment on the discussion draft of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST Act). Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Supports Representative Duncan Hunter's Efforts to Terminate HTS
President Monica Heller writes to Representative Duncan Hunter to encourage and support his efforts to end the U.S. Army's practice of embedding social scientists with combat units in the program known as the Human Terrain System (HTS). Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Collaborates with Social Science Organizations in Letter to Congress to Protect NSF Funding and Peer Review
In collaboration with more than 65 social science organizations, the American Anthropological Association writes to the Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to protect funding of the National Science Foundation and peer review. Read the letter (PDF).

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Supports Social Science Research at NSF
AAA Executive Director, Dr. Edward Liebow, thanks the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology for their continued support of the National Science Foundation. Read more (PDF).

AAA Committee on Public Policy Names 2013 Anthropology in Public Policy Award Winner
Dr. Nancy Scheper-Hughes honored as first award recipient of the Anthropology in Public Policy Award. Read more (PDF).

President Mullings Writes Letter to President of Sharp Entertainment
President Mullings urges Matt Sharp, President of Sharp Entertainment to reconsider the reality television show, Dig Wars. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Dismayed by the US Supreme Court Ruling On Voting Rights Act
The US Supreme Court ruling strikes down the key part of the Voting Rights Act leaving much work to be done to preserve civil rights. Read the statement (PDF).

AAA Applauds Report of Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences
"The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences" report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences is a call to action for the United States to make significant investments in the areas of social science research and education. Read more (PDF).

President Mullings Writes Letter to Prime Minister of Belize Urging Preservation of Archaeological Heritage
In a letter to Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, President Leith Mullings urges the preservation of Belize's rich archaeological heritage. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Announces Objection to Recent Legislation
President Leith Mullings writes letter announcing AAA's objection to recent legislative proposal that would add an unnecessary layer of review to the process through which the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards research grants. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Requests Support for Cuban Scholars
President Leith Mullings writes to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry requesting support to facilitate visas for Cuban scholars who have been invited to participate in the XXXI International Congress of Latin American Studies Association. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Urges Guatemalan President Molina to Address Attacks In Indigenous Areas
AAA's Committee for Human Rights has received reports concerning threats, attacks, and killings that indigenous people, community leaders, and peasants have confronted in the last year in indigenous areas of Guatemala. Read the letter in English and Spanish (PDF).

AAA Has Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment
Shocked and dismayed by recent survey results, AAA has zero tolerance for sexual harassment in academic, professional, fieldwork or any other settings where our members work. Read the statement (PDF). 

AAA Urges Auction Reconsideration of Hopi Sacred Objects
AAA writes letter to express deepest concern about planned auction of Hopi sacred objects on Friday, 12 April 2013. Read the letter (PDF).

AAA Statement on Funding Social Science Research at the National Science Foundation
AAA strongly opposes the amendment which prohibits the National Science Foundation from funding political science research. Read the statement (PDF).

AAA partners with Brazilian Anthropologists in Human Rights Advocacy
AAA's Committee for Human Rights spearheaded an advocacy campaign to call attention to the public health crisis amongst the indigenous peoples of Brazil. Read the letter in English or Portuguese (PDF).

AAA Asks Sotheby's to Reconsider Planned Auction of the Barbier-Mueller Collection
In a letter to CEO William F. Ruprecht, AAA expresses its deepest concerned about the planned aution of the Barbier-Mueller Collection of pre-Columbian art. Click here to read the letter (PDF).

AAA Urges Cultural Property Agreement To Be Upheld in the Republic of Mali
AAA calls upon UNESCO, the Republic of Mali and the United States to work with Malian scholars and authorities to assess the damage of cultural resources and historic sites in the city of Timbuktu to prevent and halt the looting and illegal trade of antiquities. Read the letter in English (PDF) or in French (PDF).

AAA also partnered in a joint letter with the Archaeological Institute of America in a letter to protect Mali's rich heritage. Click here to read the letter (PDF). 

Anthropologists Release Statement on Gun Violence
In light of recent events occurring nationwide associated with gun-related violence in schools, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has released a statement on gun violence. Click here to read the statement (.pdf). 

Letters Opposing Reality TV Shows on Unethical Archaeological Dig Practices
AAA President, Leith Mullings writes letters of opposition to producers of new television shows which wrongly represent archaeology as a treasure-seeking adventure, in which our collective heritage is dug up and sold for monetary gain. Click here (.pdf) to read the letter to National Geographic for their show Diggers, and here (.pdf) for the letter to Spike TV for their show American Diggers. As the Spike TV show American Diggers goes international, AAA President Mullings writes to Discovery Communications requesting the show to be withdrawn. Click here (.pdf) to read the letter in English and here (.pdf) to read it in Spanish.

MCAT Revision - Letters to Advisory Committee
AAA President, Leith Mullings and Society for Medical Anthropology President, Douglas Feldman co-write letters to MCAT Advisory Committee in response to exam revision. Letters were sent to Dr. S. Gabbe (.pdf) and Dr. H. Sondheimer (.pdf).

Executive Director, Bill Davis, Responds to the Request for Information issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Letter to the Office of Science and Technology Policy in regards to Public Access to Scholarly Publications. Click here to download letter(.pdf).

Is Governor Scott Asking for an Anthropologist Exodus in Florida?
Governor Scott says Florida "doesn't need a lot more anthropologists in this state." Click here to download (.pdf) President Dominguez's response to the Governor. To sign the petition to request a meeting with Governor Scott, click here.

Action Alert: Contact Your Senators Today - Urge Them to Restore Funding for NSF

Your help is needed to encourage the full Senate to support the House bill that rejects cuts to NSF. Both the House and the Senate have developed appropriations legislation that would cut funding for Education and Human Resources programs at NSF, but the House would cut roughly $6 million less than the Senate. Learn more.

U.S. Bioethics Committee Releases Report on the Public Health Service's Supported Research on STDs in Guatemala in the 1940's

Following the revelation that the PHS supported research on sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948, President Obama asked the Bioethics Committee to oversee a thorough fact-finding investigation into the studies. The PHS research involved intentionally exposing and infecting vulnerable populations to sexually transmitted disease without the subjects' consent. Read the complete report (pdf).

AAA Releases General Statement on Immigration

Following the passage of anti-immigration laws in several states, the Executive Board's Ad Hoc Group on Immigration has released a statement making recommendations to avoid investing in areas that sponsor or pass such legislation. Click here to read the General Statement.

HHS Seeks Comments on Human Subjects Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for "Human Subjects Research: Enhancing Protections for Research Subjects and Reducing Burden, Delay and Ambiguity for Investigators. For more information, click here.

AAA Urges Members To Protect Research Funding

In separate actions, two House Appropriations Subcommittees have passed funding bills for the NSF and NEH. To learn about how you can petition Congress for increased funding for these two agencies, click here.

Inviting thoughtful scholarly analysis to our new AAA Free Speech Anthropology Forum

Reactions to the early May 2011 capture and death of Osama Bin Laden are multiple and vary in intensity, yet it is clear that anthropologists have much knowledge and insight to offer each other and the rest of the world.  We launch a Free Speech Anthropology Forum tab on the AAA Blog now in order to stress the value of space for thoughtful, scholarly, and analytic debate and discussion among anthropologists and others we seek to reach.  AAA endorses and seeks to facilitate the space for dissent, free speech, and thoughtful analysis.  At times like this one, when many are either just euphoric or others offer critiques that look quite politically partisan, it may be more important than ever to endorse thoughtful, scholarly, analytic discussion and commentary.

The future will no doubt bring us other subjects of similar intensity and public attention, but this seems to be an especially apt time to launch our Free Speech Anthropology Forum tab on the AAA Blog, providing our members with the space and the opportunity to engage in important but possibly difficult exchanges over reactions to the Bin Laden death.

- Virginia R. Dominguez
President, American Anthropological Association

Resources to Help AAA Members Thoughtfully Assist the People of Japan at this Time of Crisis
With the assistance of SEAA's current president, Jennifer Robertson, AAA President Virginia R. Dominguez would like to make available to the entire membership the following resources: news sources, resources for finding people in Japan, donating funds, connecting with others, and otherwise finding ways to help the people of Japan. Learn more.

AAA Urges Members To Write To Congress Representatives
The Obama Administration recently released its budget for fiscal year 2012, the plan addresses a budget deficit that is expected to reach over $1.6 trillion dollars by the end of this fiscal year. Learn more.

AAA Responds to Howard University on the Closing of the Anthropology Department
President Virginia Dominguez expresses disappointment the in decision of closing the Anthropology department at Howard University and requests the university president to reconsider the decision. Learn more.

International Archaeological Community Call for Action in Egypt
Presidents of the International Archaeological Community write a statement, recognizing the multitude of priorities in this political situation, expressing prioritization for the protection of Egypt's cultural heritage and the preservation of Egypt's invaluable and irreplaceable archaeological history. Learn more.

AAA Signs Statement of Support of Egypt
In conjunction with the Archaeological Institute of America, AAA signs Statement of Support for Egypt. This statement shares its concern for the Egyptian people and the loss of cultural heritage that Egypt has sustained and the threat of further losses. Learn more.

WCAA Protests Treatment of Prominent Anthropologist
International society of anthropologists writes to Belgian officials to protest unfair treatment of Marianne Maeckelbergh. Learn more.

AAA Contributes to Discussion of Race on Capitol Hill
Members Brett Williams (American U) and Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia U) are panelists for "Race, Politics and Policy: A National Dialogue on Race." Learn more.

CBC issues RFP for Gulf Coast Environmental Remediation Projects
The Congressional Black Caucus, under the leadership of the CBC Energy & Environment Taskforce, has issued a Request for Proposals for recommendations on how BP, federal agencies and local networks can move towards long term recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast Region. Learn more.

Committee for Human Rights Addresses Dam Project in Brazil
Writing to various Brazilian officials about the proposed Belo Monte Hydroelectric Project in Para, CfHR petitions for reconsideration of dam construction, as many local indigenous groups would be adversely affected. Learn more.

National Science Foundation Solicits Advice on Future Research Directions
Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences asks for white papers outlining "grand challenge" questions for the agency as part of  its plan to frame innovative research for the year 2020 and beyond. Learn more.

AAA Responds to Congressional Letter on Public Access Policies
Executive Director Bill Davis wrote a letter of support for a Congressional letter detailing the potential fallout of mandating free public access for published materials about federally funded research.  Learn more.

AAA Challenges Language Questions on US Census
President Virginia Dominguez asks agency to revise terminology describing linguistic abilities of non-English speakers.  Learn more.

AAA Executive Director Testifies on Capitol Hill
Bill Davis speaks to federal appropriators about the importance of NSF funding.  Learn more.

AAA Participates in Humanities Advocacy Day
AAA members and staff lobby Congress for increased humanities funding.  Learn more.

Honduras Resolution Passes
AAA members vote to support Honduran resistance against the recent coup d'etat.  Learn more.

Participate in National Humanities Advocacy Day
Anthropologists are invited to participate in a two-day event to promote federal support for research, education, and public programs in the humanities. Learn more.

AAA President's Statement on Haiti
AAA President Virginia Dominguez issued an action alert in response to the dire humanitarian crisis in Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake. Read her statement here.

CEAUSSIC Releases Final Report on Military's Human Terrain System
The AAA's Ad Hoc Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities has released its final report on the Army's Human Terrain System program. Learn more.

Anthropologists Discuss Race on Capitol Hill
RACE Project advisors Alan Goodman and Michael Blakey discussed race during a Congressional Black Caucus session honoring the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's first run for president. Learn more.

AAA & WCAA Release Statement on Peru
The AAA and Organizing Committee of the WCAA raise concerns about the violation of indigenous peoples' human, territorial and legal rights.  More here.

AAA Supports Visa Reform
AAA and 31 organizations signed onto the "Statement and Recommendations on Visa Problems Harming America's Scientific, Economic, and Security Interests."  Learn more.

AAA Advocates for Increased NEH Funding
Executive Director Bill Davis and Director of Public Affairs Damon Dozier meet with legislators to discuss funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Learn more.

AAA to Host Second Advocacy Webinar of 2009
Members interested in promoting humanities related policies in their local districts should tune in on April 1, 2009.  Register here.

AAA Joins Call to End "Ideological Exclusion"
AAA signs letter to Obama Administration urging end of viewpoint-based exclusion of foreign scholars.  More here.

Friends of the Committee on Ethics Group Launched
Ad hoc body is designed to provide informal consultation to the Committee on Ethics concerning a wide range of matter.  Click for details.

Membership Approves Changes to Ethics Code
An overwhelming 87% of voters approved of the proposed changes to the ethics code.  Details are here.

AAA to Host Advocacy Webinar
Members interested in getting their voices heard by elected officials are welcome to join the AAA in its upcoming "how-to" guide to effective advocacy techniques.  Register here.

Visit your Legislator on Capitol Hill
Join AAA on National Humanities Advocacy Day to stress the importance of funding NEH and NEA to policymakers on Capitol Hill.  More info here.

Policy Briefs: A New Public Policy Resource
The AAA Committee on Public Policy is proud to introduce a new informational resource for the public policy community: The AAA Policy Brief. AAA Policy Briefs address policy issues and initiatives from an anthropological perspective, examining the insights that contemporary anthropological research contributes to policy discourse. These theme-focused briefs do not take a position on public policy issues. Instead, they introduce the reader to anthropological knowledge that is necessary for making fully-informed policy decisions.

Policy Brief #1 addresses a labor policy issue, specifically the right of employees to organize unions as outlined by the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041). If you are interested in contributing to a future Policy Brief or in suggesting a future topic, please contact the Department of Public Affairs.

Read Policy Brief #1

For more information, please contact Damon Dozier, Director of Public Affairs at 703-528-1902 ext. 3008 or

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