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The AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship

Today’s guest blog post is from Shalini ShankarChair of the Committee for Minority Interests in Anthropology (CMIA), Monica Heller, AAA President and AAA CMIA Staff Liaison, Emilia Guevara

We’ve received some excellent questions from our members about the AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship. The main question is whether only US citizens are eligible to apply, and if so, why. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify the situation and to provide additional information.

This fellowship was created in 1999 as a concrete expression of AAA’s opposition to institutional racism in the United States. More specifically, the fellowship is part of AAA’s broader aim to address the historical underrepresentation of racialized minority groups within U.S. anthropology. Extensive fundraising over several years resulted many donations from a wide range of sources, allowing us to set up a permanent fund for this fellowship. We take seriously members’ sentiment that these opportunities should be broader, and include both “dreamers” (students who grew up in the US without legal recognition of their status) and racialized minority students from other countries. At the same time, we remain committed to the original intent of the fellowship and, as underrepresentation of racialized minority groups persists in the US, we cannot lose sight of the communities it was originally intended to address. The President has therefore asked the Committee for Minority Issues in Anthropology (CMIA), which oversees the fellowship, to address this complex issue, and to report to the Executive Board by May 2014 on ways to broaden access to financial and other means of support for racialized minorities.

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