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#AAA 2013 – Public Education Initiative on Migration and Displacement

The AAA’s new Public Education Initiative, focused on Migration and Displacement, seeks to bring an anthropological perspective to bear on important discussions occurring within and beyond the academy. As we begin to work on this national project, we are bringing together anthropologists to discuss key aspects of the theme. During this year’s annual conference, two roundtables will focus their attention on migration; those present will help to shed light on issues that merit serious attention. We ask you to participate in these roundtable events…help us as we begin to structure the content and general direction of what promises to be another important national project.
Friday Nov 22, 12:15-1:30pm (Chicago Hilton, Williford A): Society for Linguistic Anthropology Presidential Conversation on “Language and Mobility: Rethinking the Populations, Practices, and Places of ‘Migration.'”
panelists include Hilary Dick, Adrienne Shiu-Ming Lo, Jonathan Rosa, Alejandro Paz, Rosina Marquez Reiter, Monica Heller, Bonnie McElhinny, Shalini Shankar, Jan Blommaert, Susan Gal.
Saturday Nov.23, 12:15-1:30pm (Chicago Hilton, Astoria Room): PEI Special Events Panel on Anthropology and Migration
panelists include Leo Chavez, Anna Rios, Daina Sanchez, Pat Zavella, Lynn Stephen, Jonathan Xavier Inda.

Anthropology Added to Appendix of C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards

C3 Framework for Social StudiesThe National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has released its C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards, which includes as appendices companion documents for anthropology, sociology, and psychology. The AAA Education Task Force and Ad Hoc Anthropology Companion Document Review Committee prepared the Anthropology Companion Document for the C3 Framework, Appendix D (page 77) in the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards (PDF).

This companion document provides an Introduction to the Disciplinary Concepts and Skills of Anthropology, four concepts of the discipline and provides connections to the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.

According to NCSS:

The C3 Framework was purposefully designed to offer guidance for state social studies standards, not to outline specific content to be delivered. For states utilizing the C3 Framework, the ten themes of the 2010 NCSS National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies:
A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment will be useful for the process of identifying specific content to be delivered and concepts to be acquired. The four dimensions of the inquiry arc in the C3 Framework correspond well with four sets of learning expectations presented in the National Curriculum
Standards for Social Studies

  • Questions for Exploration
  • Knowledge: what learners need to understand
  • Processes: what learners will be capable of doing
  • Products: how learners demonstrate understanding

Three days, two rooms, one house

Today’s guest blog post is by Shirley J. Fiske (Chair of AAA Global Climate Change Task Force*).

Photograph by William Geogheghan. Front row from left: Lisa Lucero, Sarah Strauss, Heather Lazrus. Second row: Carole L. Crumley, Kathleen Galvin, Richard Wilk. Third row: Susan Crate. Fourth row: Shirley J. Fiske, Ben Orlove, Anthony Oliver-Smith. Photo by Bill Geoghegan. Photo courtesy School for Advanced Research GCCTF member, George Luber was not able to attend due to the government shutdown.

Front row from left: Lisa Lucero, Sarah Strauss, Heather Lazrus. Second row: Carole L. Crumley, Kathleen Galvin, Richard Wilk. Third row: Susan Crate. Fourth row: Shirley J. Fiske, Ben Orlove, Anthony Oliver-Smith.
Photo by Bill Geoghegan.
Photo courtesy School for Advanced Research.

Looking back at the end of the week, we want to capture the feeling and substance of the three-day short seminar of the AAA’s Global Climate Change Task Force (GCCTF) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A compressed time period with intense discussion, seamlessly flowing between the two main rooms in the School for Advanced Research (SAR) Douglas Schwartz Seminar House—the dining area and the adjacent seminar room. The GCCTF was hosted by the School for Advanced Research to work out the approaches, complexities and details for the task force report on anthropological perspectives on climate change to the AAA, due in 2014.

Over the past year, the task force prepared white papers on the issues where anthropology connects to climate change and climate change policy—e.g., adaptation, resilience, vulnerability, lessons from our collective ancestors, the drivers and impacts of climate change. Papers were presented, discussed and critiqued. Ideas challenged. Assumptions laid bare. Intensity exemplifies our interaction. These discussions feed into our review of climate change anthropology and provide guidance for the future report.

Concentration. Challenge in finding common ground. Across our different perspectives we debated the key messages and common themes to anthropological studies of climate change—the primacy of context, the value of diversity, the importance of scales—geospatial and temporal—community and holism. We looked for key messages, themes, foundations, and Eureka moments. Comparability. Iterative drafts. These are all phrases and thoughts that members expressed at the end of the final day.

Release. Thanks to the expertise of our members we had yoga, stretching, and self-reflection. We got rain (much needed in Santa Fe). We had humor, from folk rap to folk tales to punctuate our day. Totally spontaneous. We rotated the facilitators each day and provided opportunity for multiple leadership.

“Talk sleep eat—sleep—eat—talk—eat—sleep.” New Mexican red chili. The sun, and rain, in the interior courtyard of the adobe Seminar House. The setting in the Seminar House at SAR channels our predecessors – Margaret Mead, Lewis Binford, Richard Fox, and Gordon Wiley, among many others. The photographs in previous seminars at SAR line the hallways.

We came to a mutual agreement on next steps, massive revisions, key messages and themes. We will keep the momentum going, expand our outreach, and encourage our colleagues in anthropology and other disciplines to recognize that cultures are always changing and to focus on the environmental justice aspects of the phenomena of climate change. The SAR seminar allowed us to develop the guiding document that we are tasked with producing in a more robust and deliberative manner, reflecting perspectives drawn from across the discipline and profession of anthropology.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the School for Advanced Research, the Atlantic Philanthropies, and the AAA, which made the seminar possible.

*The members of the AAA Global Climate Change Task Force are: Shirley J Fiske (Chair), Carole Crumley, Susan Crate, Kathleen Galvin, Heather Lazrus, George Luber (unable to participate at SAR due to the federal government shutdown), Lisa Lucero, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Ben Orlove, Sarah Strauss, and Richard Wilk.

Congress Targets National Science Foundation Grants

In a recent USA Today editorial/opinion column, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith target grants awarded by the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate of the the National Science Foundation as examples of government waste and a misuse of taxpayer resources.

This isn’t the first time that the NSF has been the target of increased Congressional scrutiny. Last year, the agency’s political science grants were targeted and AAA responded quickly. Earlier this year, in response to draft legislation (the so-called “High Quality Research Act”) that would have required the Director of the NSF to certify that prior to making any grant award the research project be “in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity of welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science,” the AAA wrote a letter stating our objection to the proposal.

Certain Members of Congress have been asking the public to present ideas and identify areas where federal government waste and fraud are present. YouCut, launched by Majority Leader Cantor in May of 2010, is a website where visitors can submit their ideas for cost-cutting measures, and view videos of selected submissions being discussed while Congress is in session. Recently, the Majority Leader launched a new initiative designed to identify and target cuts to the NSF. Sadly, the new website asks citizens to search the NSF grants database to highlight grants to be questioned, and suggests keywords such as “success, culture, social norm, museum and stimulus” to identify them.

The AAA has been working with our partners in the humanities and social science communities, visiting Congressional legislators and their staff,  making the case that social science research is critical to not only American, but world scholarship. While it is important to give the American taxpayer value for their research investment, Congress should not hamper the ability or the autonomy of federal agencies to award grants to those researchers whose projects have been peer-reviewed and deemed worthy of further study. With legislation re-authorizing the NSF scheduled to be considered in the upcoming months, it is important to let Capitol Hill know the value of social science, behavioral and economic research.

Please contact your Member of Congress today and let them know that you support NSF and it’s peer review process. If you’d like more information about how to become involved, please send an email to ddozier@aaanet.org.

RACE Posters

RACE poster RACE: Are We So Different? posters now available on the AAA Online Store. Order yours today at the special AAA member price of $4.99.

RACE Posters

RACE poster RACE: Are We So Different? posters now available on the AAA Online Store. Order yours today at the special AAA member price of $4.99.

Anthropologists Back to School

Today’s guest blog post is by the 2013 Executive Program Co-Chair, Alaka Wali.

We are looking forward to an exciting four days in Chicago and want to share with you a brand new initiative that will take place on the first morning of the meetings, Wednesday, November 20.

In keeping with the meeting theme of public engagement, the “Anthropologists Back to School” initiative offers meeting participants to directly engage with Chicago middle and high school students and teachers at local museums and university campus sites. The initiative is the brain-child of Johnnetta Cole, who challenged us to create an event that permitted the AAA to “give back” to the host city in a substantive way. The objective is to spark student and teacher awareness of our discipline and its diverse subject matters and perspectives.

We have worked in collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Social Science Department and the Education Department at The Field Museum to recruit teachers from the fifth grade to high school throughout Chicago. The teachers will register for the “field trips” to the host sites based on their interest in the subject matter. The CPS social science curriculum has a broad thematic approach, but currently does not include anthropology specifically. However, the CPS is making a major push to integrate “culture” into the current curriculum. Teachers will be interested in program that focus on such themes as: connections between past and present, the human-environment interface, human evolution, immigrant experiences, cultural diversity, language and culture, among others.

Here is how it will work:

  • Meeting participants will select and register for one of the host sites. We encourage you to work in teams, integrating across sub-disciplines if possible.
  • Participants can develop a program that is appropriate for their selected site and designed for students from fifth grade and up. At most sites, the program should be interactive rather than pedantic.
  • There will be logistical support at each site, but participants will be responsible for any instructional materials they wish to use and for their own travel to the host site. All the sites are within fairly close proximity to the meeting hotel.
  • The time frame for the program is about two-to-three hours (9 am–12 pm), but at most sites, about a half-hour program can be repeated as multiple student groups rotate through.
  • At the end of your program, we would like to have you report back on the experience.

The host sites are:

  • The Field Museum. There are seven anthropology exhibit halls where meeting participants can set up stations. Students will stop at the station and have the opportunity to interact with the anthropologists.
  • The Oriental Institute at The University of Chicago. There are four permanent halls and a temporary exhibition titled “Ancient Occupations, Modern Jobs.” Potentially there can be one-to-two stations in each of these halls. The permanent halls feature exhibits on Egypt, Assyria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia.
  • The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago in Chinatown. This museum has a large meeting room and internet/projector capacity. Additionally, the exhibit halls feature stories of the Chinese immigrant experience in Chicago.
  • The National Hellenic Museum in Greek town. The museum has a large meeting room and projector capacity. Its exhibits feature both the Greek Immigrant experience and aspects of ancient and modern cultures of Greece.
  • Casa Michoacan in Pilsen. This cultural center for Chicagoans from the State of Michoaacan, Mexico, has a small gallery.
  • The South Side Community Art Center, on South Michigan Avenue. The oldest African-American art center in the United States has a main exhibit gallery. Its permanent collection includes works by many well-known Chicago artists.
  • The Latino Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The center has a large auditorium space with a vibrant mural depicting the Latino experience in the United States.
  • The Anthropology Department at Loyola University. Professor Anne Grauer is designing a program focused on physical anthropology.
  • The Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. This site is about two hours from downtown Chicago, but has several interesting options.

Registration to participate in the Anthropologists Back to School program is limited. Register here.

Additionally, on Saturday, November 23, the Council on Anthropology and Education will hold multiple sessions and their annual award ceremony at The Field Museum. Local educators will be invited and will have the opportunity to interact with Council members.  We’d also like to note that the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges will establish a dialogue with Chicago Public Schools to develop pathways for high school students interested in pursuing anthropology in community colleges.

Dana-Ain Davis and Alaka Wali are the chairs of the 2013 AAA Annual Meeting. They may be contacted at 2013aaaprogramchairs@gmail.com

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