The AAA Meetings & Conferences Department is pleased to announce a broad range of changes to the Annual Meeting. These changes will enhance the Annual Meeting experience and better meet the needs of our members and attendees. This page details each change and the rationale behind it.
In 2012 the Executive Board (EB) appointed an Annual Meeting Audit Task Force. The charge of the task force included: (1) an in-depth review of current policies and practices of the annual meeting, and (2) the identification of areas of improvement. The task force report was received by the AAA Executive Board in May 2013. An EB sub-group then carefully reviewed the findings and recommendations. In late 2013, the EB adopted a series of changes to policies, program features and activities related to the AAA Annual Meeting to be implemented by AAA staff over the next two years (2014 and 2015). The following changes will begin for the 2014 annual meeting to be held in Washington, DC December 3-7.
In particular, new session types and configurations go into effect for the 2014 meeting. As parts of these have changed, we recommend reviewing them closely as you prepare your abstract for the 2015 meeting.
New Session Types
Objective: To add a specific session type that recognizes the career contributions of established leading scholars (for example on the occasion of their retirement or significant anniversary). This session type will be part of the normal scholarly program and may be submitted by any individual and sponsored by any sponsoring entity.
Rationale: Such sessions have in the past usually been submitted as Executive or Invited Sessions. Creating a new session type allows us to recognize the distinct nature of such panels (or other events) in a way which also allows other session types to better achieve their objectives.
2.Annual opening plenary session
Objective: To institutionalize an opening plenary session to highlight the meeting theme and specific goals.
Rationale: The opening plenary session will act as an official kick-off event on the first night of the annual meeting, placing greater emphasis on the early days of the meeting, generally helping to set the tone, and allowing for common discussion across areas of interest and expertise.
3.Permanent inclusion of Installations
Objective: To officially institutionalize a category of event (variously called "inno-vents", "salons" and other) which offers non-traditional ways of expressing and producing anthropological knowledge.
Rationale: This session type was introduced in 2010 on an experimental basis. It has proven popular (in 2010 11 proposals were submitted; in 2013, 38 proposals were submitted), so the EB subgroup agreed with the Task Force recommendation that it should be a permanent part of the program.
Read more about session types at the Annual Meeting.
Session and Participation Transformations
1.Elimination of double sessions
Objective: To standardize the time unit for panels and other events to address scheduling burdens.
Rationale: Sponsoring entities have often historically proposed double sessions. Because it is necessary to schedule them sequentially and ideally one half right after the other, they are given an unfair advantage during the scheduling process, regardless of their ranking, in order to accommodate their needs. As a result of AAA's growing meeting and concern for meeting space, the task force recommended that only single sessions be proposed during the submission period. While organizers may include a series of sessions in parts (i.e. Part I, Part II) it will be understood that each individual session will be reviewed and ranked by its merit. Part II may be accepted while Part I may not. The Executive Program Committee (EPC) will make every effort to ensure that accepted in-part series are scheduled in proper order, but cannot guarantee this.
2.Allocation of 1 invited session to the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA )
Objective: To facilitate collaboration with sister anthropological organizations around the world.
Rationale: As a founding member of the WCAA, the AAA should allocate space on its program to showcase world anthropologies as a growing aspect of the discipline.
3.Unified submission deadline of April 15 forall invited, volunteered and installation sessions, as well as individual volunteered papers and posters
Objective: To streamline and better communicate the submissions process for membership, section program editors and the EPC; to give section program editors more control over the selection of invited sessions.
Rationale:If all panels are submitted at the same time as volunteered sessions, section program editors will have the opportunity to review a complete pool of candidate sessions for invited status. This move should increase the quality and range of invited sessions on the final program. By moving to a single deadline, we make the process of submitting proposals to the AAA easier to understand and to communicate.
4.Chair role no longer counts against the 1+1 role rule
Objective: To facilitate session organization without overly constraining member roles.
Rationale: The EB agrees that any individual member should not figure too prominently on the program in speaking roles. However, the chair role does not entail a major substantive contribution, and chairs may potentially attract audiences.
Read more about session types at the Annual Meeting.
Read more about presenting policies and roles at the Annual Meeting.
Other Aspects of the Meeting
1.Fuller engagement with social media
a.) Introduce E-Posters
b.) Create alternative media centers
c.) Create a Speakers' Corner
d.) Create opportunities for live-streaming presentations to/from the meeting
Rationale: AAA wants to expand its influence in social media and offer people opportunities to interact with the annual meeting globally or with those who are unable to travel to the host city. By taking a proactive stance with social media and various forms of virtual communication we can enhance the opportunities for scholarly exchange for our members.
2.Provision of internet access to the all of AAA's meeting spaces.
Objective: To facilitate connectivity
Rationale: To increase our use of social media initiatives and to enhance presentations and communications on-site, AAA must commit to providing the resources to cover the costs associated with wireless Internet throughout the meeting.
3.Officially expand the Executive Program Committee (EPC) to approximately 10 members
Objective: To ensure that the EPC is large enough to represent diverse fields of anthropology.
Rationale: The EPC has in fact been composed of about 10 members for the last four or five years, and this size has worked well to achieve the above objectives.
A second set of procedural changes addressing registration periods and waiver applications for non-traditional presenters will begin in January 2015 for the Annual Meeting in November 2015. More information about these policy changes will be available shortly.