AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Program Number: 3-0225
Type: Invited Roundtable Session
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): ALICIA EBBITT MCGILL (Indiana University), K ANNE PYBURN (Indiana University) 
Chair(s): ALICIA EBBITT MCGILL (Indiana University) 
8:15 AM: DISCUSSANT: K ANNE PYBURN (Indiana University)  
8:30 AM: DISCUSSANT: DANIEL SUSLAK (Indiana University)  
8:45 AM: DISCUSSANT: REBECCA ZARGER (University of South Florida)  
9:00 AM: DISCUSSANT: ELIZABETH CHILTON (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)  
9:45 AM: DISCUSSANT: E CHRISTIAN WELLS (University of South Florida)  
10:00 AM: DISCUSSANT: DAVID GADSBY (American University)  
10:15 AM: DISCUSSANT: ANTOINETTE JACKSON (University of South Florida)  
11:45 AM: End of Session
Abstract: In an increasingly globalized world in which people, products, and concepts are crossing various boundaries (e.g. group, national, disciplinary), ideas and objects are appropriated, manipulated, and transformed in diverse ways. Such global movements and connections impact individuals, communities, and nation-states in positive and negative ways. Concurrently, research on and discussions about sustainable development, responsible tourism, heritage studies, cultural preservation, and cultural revitalization have become popular in the social sciences, global media, and political initiatives all over the world. The issues discussed above are interconnected and relate to the trope of circulation. This session seeks to examine, discuss, and evaluate the goals and methods of recent research and applied programs within cultural anthropology and archaeology focused on sustainability, heritage studies, and preservation of cultural practices. The session will be structured as a discussion panel in which scholars involved in these initiatives will discuss their work, centers, and organizations.

Although the global exchange and consumption of ideas, products, and people is not a new phenomenon nor a new analytic theme in anthropology, recently cultural appropriation and exchange have raised concerns amongst cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, politicians, and indigenous people about the impact circulation, global pressures, and social and economic inequalities have on the cultural practices of various marginalized and minority groups. Some critics of globalization argue mass media and the integration of economies, societies, and cultures threatens certain cultural practices and erases unique differences between groups. Other scholars demonstrate the ways that "common" global themes and ideas are appropriated and reinvented in local contexts. These debates have surely influenced the development of research and education programs and centers focused on heritage, sustainability, and cultural preservation and revitalization throughout the world. Many of these centers and programs focus on maintaining, preserving, and revitalizing cultural practices and ancient and contemporary cultural sites and objects, often for global appreciation and understanding. Some such projects have been initiated by anthropological scholars while others have anthropologists acting as advisors and advocates for marginalized groups, which raises questions about anthropologists’ roles in this kind of work.

A significant component of heritage studies and cultural preservation endeavors is education. Educational endeavors take place in formal and informal ways through curriculum development, language revitalization efforts, and programs to raise awareness about heritage and diversity. This session will also address the education initiatives and agendas of panel participants’ projects.

In this panel scholars will address questions like: -- What are some intersections between sustainability, heritage studies, and cultural preservation? -- What are some of the inherent ethical, moral, and cultural dilemmas and challenges in cultural preservation work? -- How do heritage studies and cultural revitalization projects seek to challenge national, societal, and global structures and historical, ethnic, cultural, racial, and economic hierarchies? Paradoxically, how could such efforts perpetuate inequalities, stereotypes, and essentialist concepts of culture? -- What roles do formal and informal education play in these efforts?

In this session we hope audience members will raise comments and questions and that panel participants will be involved in engaging dialogue with the audience.


If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at