Chapter 8: Program Committee

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PROGRAM CHAIR

The SPA program Chair, also known to the AAA as the “Section Program Editor,” has the responsibility of arranging SPA invited sessions, assessing and ranking organized sessions, and putting together sessions of volunteered papers for the AAA annual meetings. The number of invited session slots allocated to the SPA depends on the size of the SPA membership; in 2001, the SPA was allotted 5.50 hours, which was broken down into three invited sessions. The responsibilities of the Program Committee come in two major waves, one in early spring, when the committee must organize the invited sessions (by the beginning of April), and the second in early May, when the committee receives from the AAA processed lists of volunteered papers and organized sessions that must be organized into sessions, evaluated, and ranked.

In the late fall, the president of the SPA should constitute an SPA program committee and designate a chair or “editor,” who is normally a member of the SPA Board. The committee should have a total of three members. These names should then be submitted to the AAA central office.

In early January, the AAA Director of Meetings will send the Section Program Editor an Annual Meeting Operations Manual, which lays out all procedures and deadlines, including information about how many invited sessions each section has been allotted and how long they can be. The listserve address for the AAA program committee isaaaprogram@lists.aaanet.org. The AAA also has a website where the annual call for papers, submission information, and proposal forms for paper and session submissions can be found. This is www.aaanet.org.

Responsibilities of the Section editor and SPA program committee, with suggested deadlines:

The newly designated chair may find it helpful to submit a call for suggestions for invited sessions to the SPA president for email distribution to the SPA list. The text of the 2001 call for sessions was as follows:

The SPA has been alotted up to thre invited sessions at the 2001 AAA meetings in Washington, DC, and now is the time to give us your suggestions for such sessions. The general theme of the AAA meetings this year is “100 Years of Anthropology: The Transformation of a Discipline.” Though the SPA is, of course, not restricted to addressing this themes, this would thus be a good opportunity to organize at least one session that takes an innovative retrospective look at Psychological Anthropology, ideally from a range of perspectives. The AAA is also encouraging organizers to be innovative in their planning of the sturucture of their sessions, suggesting, for example, that more time be allowed for discussion interspersed with formal presentations. It is also possible to sponsor a double session or a joint session with another section. Please email your ideas for themes and possible presenters to Katherine Ewing, this year’s SPA Section Program Editor, before February 15 (katherine.ewing@duke.edu). You may also contact Carmelly Moore (ccmoore@orion.oac.uci.edu) or Kevin Birth (kbi$anth@qc1.qc.edu), who have also volunteered to serve on the Section program committee.

(Technically, the invited sessions are to be organized directly by the program committee, but input from the membership, including names of likely participants, is always welcome) The call for suggestions should include a deadline of mid to late February, to give the committee time 1) to constitute invited sessions and/or assess the suggestions for invited sessions made by others and 2) to inform the people designated as invited session chairs of the committee’s decisions before March 15 so that the session chairs can prepare their final packets for submission directly to the AAA.

All proposals to the AAA, including invited sessions, organized sessions, and volunteered papers are due at the very beginning of April. Only invited sessions must first pass through the SPA program committee before this deadline. Others are submitted to the AAA directly by the session organizers or by the individual presenter. But all sessions, both invited and organized must be submitted directly to the AAA by the session chair (or individual volunteer) on the appropriate forms with the required registration fees. The SPA program editor will, at the same time, submit to the AAA program chair a list of the SPA invited sessions, including the participants, paper titles, recommended order of presentation, and time allotment recommendations. The program editor should also send the SPA president a list of the invited sessions at this time.

After a hiatus of a month or so, the next responsibility of the program editor and program committee begins in early May, when the editor receives from the AAA a list of organized sessions and volunteered papers to be reviewed by the SPA for sponsorship. The editor must copy this packet and distribute it immediately to the rest of the SPA program committee. (This will probably not be a very large pileÐthere seems to be a fairly close correspondence between he number of papers received and the number of papers that the SPA is allowed to sponsor.) Each committee member then independently evaluates each paper and makes suggestions for organizing them into sessions and ranking the sessions. The program chair makes the final decisions, including the decision to reject weak papers or sessions, and sends these recommendations back to the AAA. At some time in the summer, the AAA will inform the program editor of the final decisions of the AAA program committee. The editor should then inform the SPA newsletter editor and the SPA president of the final list of SPA-sponsored sessions.