Many Front Doors: How to Get Involved in the Council on Anthropology of Education’s Activities

In a meeting last year, Mission Committee Co-chair Kevin Foster offered up the metaphor of ‘many doors’ to describe our goal for fostering (get it?) greater participation in CAE. The idea is that getting involved and participating in CAE can be achieved by choosing to enter some of our ‘many front doors’ rather than one imposing front door, or an insider’s “back door.”

Because we are a large national organization, most of our activities occur at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association. Please note that although one need not join the AAA in order to fully participate in the meetings, the conference registration rate for non-members is almost as high as it would be if one became a member and got the lower member rate. In other words, it makes little sense NOT to join if you plan to attend, because by joining you receive all sorts of other benefits, like access to job postings and journals through the Anthrosource database. When you join the AAA, you must also choose at least one of its sections, which is what we call the sub-disciplinary organizations like CAE. Please note that CAE offers an especially low student membership rate of $15, along with a $22 Associate rate for independent scholars/practitioners.

We would like to note that it is NOT imperative for you to have a formal place on the AAA program to participate in CAE activities. Perhaps you were too busy or unsure to submit a proposal for this year’s conference (and remember that the New Member Poster Session is always a gentle way to start your involvement with CAE). We know that many participants cannot receive institutional support for travel if they do not indeed have a paper or poster accepted for the program, but if you can pay your own way, you may wish to participate less formally your first time around. And if you DO submit a paper or poster, be sure to consider applying next year for our Shirley Brice Heath New CAE Scholar Travel Stipend—applications are usually due in September.

Once you get to the meetings, the first important thing to point out is that virtually all CAE events and activities on the AAA program are completely open to any registered conference participants (with the exception of the Presidential Fellows meetings—see below).  This is true of the Board Meeting (even though voting rights are limited according to constitutional by-laws), and all other special events and activities, in addition to the regular paper and roundtable sessions. It’s also true of the “Business Meeting,” which despite its stuffy-sounding name is actually a vital, celebratory space for our organization. This year we’ve changed the name to the “Business-Community Meeting,” and incorporated it into the New Member Reception. We usually have a very good time, so please come on Friday night and meet fellow CAE members, new and old!

Perhaps the most important and fruitful space for initially getting involved in CAE is the “All-Committee Meeting,” which is usually held on Friday or Saturday (this year it will be on Friday at 1 p.m.).  The 15 committees are the spaces where participants (current or prospective CAE members) get together according to their topical interests, introduce one another and share their work, and informally brainstorm ideas for paper panels or other events at the following year’s meeting. Sometimes research projects or advocacy actions blossom out of these committees as well. And if you’re not careful, you just may find yourself getting elected as a Chair or Co-Chair—we’re always looking for new blood to energize the committees.  The current list of committees can be found at: http://www.aaanet.org/sections/cae/sample-page/standing-committees/. (Although capped at 15, from year to year it is possible for new committees to be formed, and old ones to be dissolved if little interest is being shown).

For graduate students and relative newcomers to CAE, there are a number of special events specifically designed to facilitate involvement. The student representatives have created 3 special events this year, each intended to foster intimate self-reflection and mentoring opportunities for some of the unique challenges of navigating today’s academic and practitioner settings. In addition, there is a Works-in-Progress session, scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m., which pairs junior scholars with senior mentors, and there are also sessions for special mentoring of our competitive selection of Presidential Fellows. We are aware, of course, that such competitions have winners and losers, and can lead to feelings of exclusion. If you were not selected as a Presidential Fellow, please take heart: We do not mean to imply that your work is any less important or distinguished, or that you are any less deserving of full participation; we still welcome your involvement across all other CAE sessions.

This year, the Mission Committee is sponsoring a “Town Hall” session, on Thursday at 1 p.m., to evaluate our progress toward our stated goals of promoting social justice, as well as to discuss, debate, and possibly revise the mission statement itself. This would be an excellent opportunity to experience the “culture” of CAE and have your voice heard.

In closing, we pride ourselves on being a transparent, democratic, and inclusive organization, but we also know that we can always do a better job. If you have questions or concerns about our practices or activities, please bring them to the attention of anyone serving on the Board, which includes all officers and committee chairs. These concerns will get communicated to the Executive Committee for consideration.

 

 

 

 

Submitting to the CAE for the 2014 AAA Meetings

Submitting to the Council on Anthropology of Education for the 2014 AAA Meetings

 A Note from the 2014 Program Chair

Calling all knowledge producers!  On behalf of the Executive Committee, we invite you to get involved with the program for this year’s AAA meeting, to be held in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3-7. We particularly look forward to engaging, provocative sessions and activities that link to the overall theme of the meetings (“Producing Anthropology”), and, importantly, connect to educational actors and organizations in the D.C. area.

As many of you know, April 15th has become the annual deadline for paper and panel submissions, and that remains unchanged.  It will also remain unchanged that you must register for the conference (and typically renew membership) at the time of submitting your proposal, even though this does not guarantee that you will get on the program (You CAN get a refund in the event that you are not accepted to the program). Please note, however, that one does not need to be a member of CAE in order to submit to our section. Indeed, we hope that you will get colleagues involved who ordinarily might not participate in the CAE program. This goes for AAA members with primary affiliations to other sections, as well as non-AAA members, whom you can assist by applying for a membership waiver so they can participate without purchasing AAA membership (though they will still have to pay the non-member registration fee).

Submissions for the April 15 deadline can take multiple forms. You can submit as a member of a paper session, which is a cluster of papers organized around a particular theme, or as a part of some other collective format (see below). We very much hope that you will explore the CAE standing committee structure and connect with like-minded folks who are putting together panels or other events (There are currently 12 thematic committees, and 2 more pending Board approval). That said, we also want to make it clear that committee involvement is not a prerequisite to proposing a session; it is simply a way of trying to bring people together with common interests. And if you don’t manage to connect with a group compiling a panel, you can still submit an individually volunteered paper, and have it considered for inclusion in the program. If you submit an individual paper to CAE, the program committee attempts to group papers into panels that cohere around a particular methodological, theoretical, geographical, or conceptual theme.

There are a few changes and details in the program process that I would like to bring to your attention (click here to see AAA submission rules and suggestions). First, there are no longer early submission dates for “Invited sessions.” Rather, everyone will submit by April 15th, and the review rankings will guide the CAE Executive Board in determining which sessions receive the Invited status that provides a heightened profile on the program. However, you will still need to indicate that you wish to pursue Invited status, as opposed to the more general category of “Volunteered session.”  Invited sessions are supposed to be “innovative, synthesizing sessions intended to reflect the state-of-the-art and the thematic concerns in the major subfields.”  If you think that your session does this, then by all means let us know by signaling your interest in having Invited status. CAE is typically allowed only 2-4 invited sessions, depending on whether we are able to arrange any co-sponsorships with other sections. Even though you must submit your session to one section only, please let us know if you have an idea about which section might co-sponsor.

There are also some alternative possibilities:  A new category of “Retrospective Sessions recognizes the career contributions of established leading scholars (for example on the occasion of their retirement or significant anniversary).”   There are also Public Policy Forums, Roundtables, Poster Sessions, and Installations.  We strongly encourage you to explore these alternative formats. Indeed, many of us had been commenting recently that the conventional paper session leaves us with all too little time to discuss issues in much depth. So let’s take advantage of these formats and think outside the box. Finally, there are also “Special Events.”  This is how we schedule our business and committee meetings, but other events can be proposed, too. The recent off-site event at the Field Museum in Chicago (submitted as an Installation) was an example of thinking way outside the box, and we encourage the same for next year.

April 15th is the deadline for all these proposals. February 16th is the earliest that submissions can be made. I will be in touch again at that time to help guide you through the details of the on-line submission process. For now, you should continue brainstorming ideas and developing session abstracts (500 words) and/or individual abstracts (250 words).

I will end this message by linking to the questions that comprise the AAA meeting theme.  To my mind, CAE members are extremely well positioned to speak to these questions and invigorate the discipline.  I hope you will consider them in your proposals.

Please feel free to be in touch with your questions and concerns.

Bradley Levinson
brlevins@indiana.edu