Not So Picture Perfect

What if I told you that a photograph was worth a thousand words? But what words? What if the words were “unethical” and “fiction”? Though many would deny this claim, for the indigenous Maya people of Yucatán, it’s far from falsehood. What may have seemed like a typical act of journalism has in actuality created … Continue reading Not So Picture Perfect

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment

In response to the recent survey about sexual harassment in anthropology, reported by Kathryn Clancy (U Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Katie Hinde (Harvard), Robin Nelson (U California, Riverside), and Julienne Rutherford (U Illinois, Chicago) the American Anthropological Association has issued the following statement on behalf of its more than 11,000 members.  The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is shocked and … Continue reading Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment

Indiana Jones is to Anthropology as Fred Flintstone is to Neolithic Life

Below is a copy of the Letter to the Editor of the New York Times Magazine by President Mullings in response to the recent article by Emily Eakin. To the Editor, While we recognize that the figure of Indiana Jones is attractive, it is about as useful for understanding anthropology as Fred Flintstone is for … Continue reading Indiana Jones is to Anthropology as Fred Flintstone is to Neolithic Life

Small Grant Award for Developing Ethics Curricular Materials Announced

On behalf of the American Anthropological Association, the Committee on Ethics (COE) is pleased to announce the Small Grant Award for Developing Ethics Curricular Materials has been made to Elisa J. Gordon, PhD MPH and her collaborator, David Perlman, PhD for their project, Research Ethics Learning Modules for Medical Anthropology and Ethnography. The curriculum project … Continue reading Small Grant Award for Developing Ethics Curricular Materials Announced

Anthropologists Approve Comprehensive Overhaul of Ethics Code

After a five-year review process, members of the American Anthropological Association have approved a rigorous overhaul of their ethics code.  The code offers guidance to anthropologists as to how they should conduct themselves in professional and academic settings, in collecting and disseminating research data, and in their relationships with research subjects, colleagues and students.  The new document, titled “Statement on Ethics: Principles of Professional Responsibility,” strengthens the previous ethics code, adapts it to the digital age, and makes use of a fundamentally new format.  Members were given six weeks to vote on the code, which was approved by an overwhelming 93 percent of those who voted.

The first AAA ethics code was written in 1971, in response to controversies over the Vietnam War. Where previous AAA ethics codes resembled straightforward legal codes, the new Principles of Professional Responsibility take the form of a hyperlinked living document in a simple, user-friendly format.  While still offering guidance for ethical conduct in the form of general principles, the new document features embedded hypertext links to pertinent case study materials, reference documents, websites and articles. The Statement has a series of references after each defining principle to allow the readers to find further sources of information and data.  These resources give readers a richer sense of the context of the ethics code and of specific dilemmas anthropologists have faced in their work. Continue reading “Anthropologists Approve Comprehensive Overhaul of Ethics Code”