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Science, Advocacy and Anthropology

By Leith Mullings, Monica Heller, Ed Liebow and Alan Goodman


Do you remember the arcade game ‘Whack-a-Mole’? Plastic animals pop up at random from their holes in a table’s surface. The player bashes them back into their holes with a rubber mallet. As the pace picks up, initial delight is replaced by a growing sense of futility. Every time a mole is whacked back into its hole, another pops up somewhere else. The debate about whether science and advocacy are inimical is starting to feel like this.

It has popped up again in this week’s New York Times Magazine in reference to our discipline, anthropology. Contrary to some loudly voiced claims, both advocacy and science are (and long have been) at the core of our discipline. At the same time, of course, both continually raise important ethical questions requiring continued conversation, examination and debate; indeed, the American Anthropological Association recently approved a new statement on professional responsibilities. They both also require a commitment to good scholarship, and to lively but civil scholarly debate, in which arguments are considered persuasive because of a consistent body of evidence whose reliability and validity inspire confidence, not because of exceptional circumstances presented in a made-for-the-movies sensational fashion. (see also Professor Elizabeth Povinelli’s review of Noble Savages).

Let us use the problem of ‘race’ to illustrate the complex relationship between what counts as good or bad science, and significance of advocacy in anthropology. Our modern discipline’s origins are derived directly from an uncritical acceptance of, as well as a critical response to overt 19th and early 20th century ‘scientific racism.’ ‘Science’ legitimated prejudice and bigotry, holding that races were genetically separate and hierarchically ranked, and thus rationalizing slavery, Jim Crow laws and even genocide. And lest we think that ‘scientific racism’ is some archaic relic that was driven out of the public conversation, one need only consult the more recent arguments of authors such as Herrnstein, Murray, Rushton, Jensen, and Lynn.

In an attempt to bring sounder evidence to the debate, our Association’s current Race Project draws from all fields of anthropology and provides a modern, and eminently scholarly, understanding of race, casting a critical eye on race and racism through the lenses of history, science, and lived experience. The project, and the book that accompanies it, RACE: Are We So Different?, is also a form of advocacy, raising public awareness about how human variation differs from the popular, and sometimes even academic, notions of race. It argues, specifically, that 1) race is a recent human invention, 2) popular ideas about race emerge from history and culture, not biology, and 3) race and racism are embedded in institutions and everyday life.

The more general point is that at the very core of our discipline are commitments to the best of science and the best of advocacy. Advocacy suggests at minimum an ethical position to try to protect and better the lives of the individuals we work with, in particular those who are without access to power. Science stands for prediction (based on current understanding), followed by systematic observation and analysis and then, usually, revised understanding. But there is something more: we recognize that science is a practice that is undertaken in a social context, and as such it can be limited by the social hierarchies of its time, creating burdens and benefits, winners and losers. To have this awareness is not ‘anti-science.’ Indeed, it offers the sort of tough love of science that all responsible scientists ought to share. And every time the debate about ‘science’ versus ‘advocacy’ re-emerges, we cannot but hope that our discipline’s lengthy track record of critically embracing science can show that the debate itself is based on false premises.
We’d love to put an end to the futility of the science versus advocacy version of “Whack a mole” so we can focus on quality anthropological work for the public good.

Leith Mullings is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and President of the AAA.

Monica Heller is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and Vice President and President-Elect of the AAA.

Ed Liebow is the Executive Director of the AAA.

Alan Goodman is Professor of Biological Anthropology at Hampshire College, and a Past President of the AAA.

Letter to the Editor of Forbes Magazine

Below is a copy of the Letter to the Editor of  Forbes by AAA President Leith Mullings:

October 31, 2012

Editor
Forbes Magazine
60 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10011-8868

To the Editor:

The American Anthropological Association read with concern Forbes’ recent article entitled “The 10 Worst College Majors.” Concluding that anthropology/archeology is “the worst choice of college major in economic terms” because other undergraduate majors earn a higher salary at graduation is less like comparing apples to oranges than comparing aardvarks to toaster ovens.

First, an undergraduate degree is sufficient to be credentialed as, say, a professional engineer, but professional anthropologists/archeologists require a graduate degree for most entry-level positions. Anthropologists/archeologists with those credentials have a much better than average job outlook, with a 50% higher than average growth in jobs between 2010-2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Further, many business, law and medical schools encourage applicants to obtain an undergraduate degree in anthropology as good preparation for their programs.

Assessing whether contexts for comparison are equivalent is one of the skills anthropologists teach, and the American Anthropological Association regrets that it is one Forbes has not learned.

Sincerely,

Leith Mullings

President
American Anthropological Association

Calling All Anthropologists: We Need a Photo of You!

The American Anthropological Association seeks photos of anthropologists in “the field” for use in the new website, This is Anthropology. We hope to collect a wide variety of images of anthropologists in action who represent the breadth of our field and the diversity of our discipline.

K Fine-Dare interviewing Pablo Gomez Semanate at family festival, Barrio San Enrique de Velasco, 2009. Photo courtesy Byron Dare.*

Submission Details

  • We seek photos that primarily feature an anthropologist, although other additional individuals present in the photo are allowable if the submitter has permission to use the image in this way.
  • Photos should be in .JPG or .TIFF format. We recommend submitting high-resolution images, up to 5MB.
  • Photos can be submitted online at: http://www.aaanet.org/customcf/anthro_pics/index.cfm.
  • The deadline for consideration is 5pm on Friday, July 27, 2012.

About the New Site

This is Anthropology, designed primarily for a lay audience of students and parents, features information about anthropology, about anthropological careers, the skills we use and how to become an anthropologist. It also features the ability for anthropologists themselves to make profiles and use an interactive map to list projects, affiliations and the schools they attended.

Questions:

Please contact Jason Miller at jemille3@mail.usf.edu.

*This select photo and a corresponding article were published in Anthropology News (52:5), official newspaper of the American Anthropological Association.

AAA Interns Share Their Experiences on Living and Working in the Nation’s Capital

This summer, AAA is hosting two interns: Melissa Campbell-McIntosh and Juliana Bennington. In this blog post, Melissa shares her feelings about her first week in Washington, DC.

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am one of the two interns selected to work for the American Anthropological Association (AAA) this summer. I would like to start by briefly introducing myself. I am entering into my senior year at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA, located in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. My major is Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology. I am particularly interested in Maritime Archaeology, Collections Management, and Cultural Resource Management. I have worked for the past two years as an assistant to the Archivist at my school. This has allowed me to apply my scholarly interests in a practical setting.

Once I heard of the internship being offered by the AAA in partnership with the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC), I knew I had to apply. I was confident that I was well qualified for this opportunity; however, I was not going to allow myself to get my hopes up until I knew for sure. I had never applied for an internship before and I figured at the very least I would walk away from this with some much needed practice in applying for future internships or research grants. Getting my congratulatory e-mail was one of the most thrilling experiences, second only to being accepted at Saint Mary’s.

Being accepted to this program brings with it a fair amount of pressure. Working for the AAA and the UAB entails representing these organizations, my school, the Anthropology Department, and my professors. I also wish to use this experience to enrich my knowledge base and gain more skills I can use in the future.

Since arriving in Washington, D.C and beginning my internship on July 6, 2011, I have been exposed to a wide variety of tasks and experiences. Working at the AAA offices has afforded me the opportunity to utilize social media outlets to promote my passion for all things Anthropology. This experience has allowed me to bring awareness to the processes of governmental funding which can greatly impact scientific research within the social sciences.

The other portion of my internship takes place at the Navy Yards where I work with Archaeologists and Conservationists at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command. This organization is responsible for acting in stewardship of all naval aircraft and vessel wreck sites that remain underwater and for preserving and housing all artifacts that have been excavated. Excavations of sites are only undertaken when intervention is required to preserve artifacts that are under threat; this can be due to environmental instability or human interference of the site.

I have been able to assist in the inventory of artifacts, conservation of artifacts, and promotion of the projects that are currently underway using social media outlets. On Monday July 18, I will be headed out to the field for the first time. The UAB is excavating the USS Scorpion, a War of 1812 ship that is located beneath the Pawtuxet River in Maryland. I will be able to aid the divers from atop a research barge and document any artifacts that are brought to the surface. Once the excavation team returns to base we will begin processing the artifacts to ensure that proper conservation methods are initiated immediately.

I would like to thank Saint Mary’s College and my professors for preparing me so well, I would not be where I am today if it were not for the remarkable educational experience I have had. I would also like to thank Damon Dozier and the entire staff at the AAA; I know that my future is much brighter now that I have been able to expand my horizon through gaining practical experience within a field which is so dear to me: Anthropology.

Elimination of “Linguistically Isolated” as Classification by the U.S. Census Bureau

AAA experts on Language and Social Justice from the Committee for Human Rights and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology have been working with the U.S. Census Bureau for several years to spur terminology change in the tabulation of household language data. As a result of our extensive communication with the U.S. Census Bureau, and with the support of the Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population, the U.S. Census Bureau agreed to eliminate the phrase “linguistic isolation” from its products issued starting in 2011. In a recent letter, the Bureau writes, “We have changed the terminology to one that we feel is more descriptive and less stigmatizing. The phrase that will appear in all new products will be Households in which no one 14 and over speaks English only or speaks a language other than English at home and speaks English ‘very well.’

For the complete story, click here.

Anthropologists Speak Out in Protection of Academic Freedom

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and its more than 11,000 members worldwide join the American Historical Association (AHA) and the larger social science community in deploring efforts to ask William Cronon to release his scholarly correspondence concerning recent events and debate regarding collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin.

Dr. Cronon is a well-respected academic, and is not only the incoming president of the American Historical Association, but is also a distinguished professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Social science, anthropology, and all of the humanities-related disciplines at large have always recognized the importance of using scholarship to explore our own times. Working within this rich tradition of academic freedom, Cronon has used his deep knowledge of American history to provide a much-needed panoramic context for the recent events in Wisconsin.  In doing this, he has enriched our understanding of present dialogues as well referencing the past to provide much needed historical, cultural and political perspective.

In demanding that the university supply copies of emails to and from Cronon that mention certain politicians and activities, some have encroached the sacred place of academic freedom and dangerously led this debate along the plane of partisan politics. As scholars and researchers, we assert that the right to intelligently criticize and critique current events, regardless of political affiliation, should remain sacrosanct and untouched by those who seek to gain political headway in the short term. A better approach would be to have his detractors challenge his historical account rather than publicly violate his civil and academic rights.

As we understand the statute, the purpose of the state’s Open Records Law is to promote informed public conversation. Anthropologists vigorously support the freedom of information act traditions of the United States of which this law is a part. In this case, however, we fear the law has been invoked to do the opposite: to find a pretext for discrediting a scholar who has taken a public position. This inquiry will damage, rather than promote, public conversation. It will discourage other scholars employed by public institutions from speaking out as citizen-scholars in their blogs, op-ed pieces, articles, books, and other writings.

We join with the AHA in calling on public-spirited individuals and organizations to denounce this assault on academic freedom. We further call on those who would challenge rightful scholarship to participate in a forthright and fair conversation about the issues Professor Cronon has raised.

As anthropologists, we welcome the opportunity to have this debate, and ask that those who would challenge Dr Cronon would meet us in a public sphere to intelligently and comprehensively discuss the issues at hand. We are ready and able to do so, and would hope those opposed to Dr Cronon’s approach would do so as well.  We look forward to a spirited dialogue.

Resources to Help AAA Members Thoughtfully Assist the People of Japan at this Time of Crisis

AAA’s section, the Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA) is actively in tune to the events and needs in Japan following the devastating earthquake, tsunami and the evolving nuclear danger. With the assistance of SEAA’s current president, Jennifer Robertson, AAA President Virginia R. Dominguez would like to make available to the entire membership the following resources: news sources, resources for finding people in Japan, donating funds, connecting with others, and otherwise finding ways to help the people of Japan. 

Click here for our most up-to-date list of resources.

In addition, AAA urges its members to consider consulting with our partners in the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology (JASCA) and the World Council of Anthropological Associations. Our JASCA colleagues will be especially thoughtful and well-informed, and it is to our collective advantage to seek their counsel.

Outside Japan, those among us who are specialists on Japan, disasters, science and technology, and environmental matters are already answering media questions and assisting in the ways their expertise equips them. Thank you for your work, your knowledge, and your guidance.

Other members should consider utilizing our still new AAA Writers Circle to contribute widely and anthropologically to public knowledge and analysis in the United States and indeed all the countries in which AAA members live. 

On behalf of all AAA members, President Dominguez sends our deepest condolences and expressions of concern to everyone in Japan, their family members and their friends.

Special Message from AAA President Dominguez for Japan

A special message from AAA President Dominguez for colleagues and friends in Japan:

Dear friends and colleagues in the WCAA,

I am truly distressed, as you no doubt also are, by the devastation in Japan and the continued terrible nuclear disaster potential there. I want to send condolences and the warmest regards of concern and collegiality to the Japanese association, all of its members, their families, students, and friends.

In sympathy and friendship (and on behalf of many thousands of your colleagues),
Virginia

Virginia R. Dominguez
President, American Anthropological Association

There have been inquiries as to people who are interested in providing their technical assistance to Japan, the USAID website has a variety of agencies currently seeking support for assistance in Japan.

Write to your Congressional Representative Now

This just in over the newswire:

Appropriations Committee Introduces Three Week Continuing Resolution Bill will Prevent Government Shutdown, Cut $6 Billion in Spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at current rates for three weeks –until April 8 – while cutting $6 billion in spending. The legislation (H.J. Res 48) is the second short-term funding extension to prevent a government shutdown while Congressional negotiations continue on a long-term plan to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year.

“A government shutdown is not an option, period. While short term funding measures are not the preferable way to fund the government, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people until Congress comes to a final, long-term agreement. This legislation also includes $6 billion in spending cuts – a $2 billion cut for every week of funding – to continue our efforts to rein in spending and put a dent in our massive, $1.5 trillion deficit,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. 

The cuts in H.J. Res 48 include funding rescissions, reductions, and program terminations. The bill also eliminates earmark accounts within the Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, Financial Services/General Government, and Interior subcommittee jurisdictions. 

All of the spending cuts in this legislation were also included in  H.R.1 – which was passed by the House – and many of these reductions and terminations were supported by President Obama in his annual  budget requests. In addition, while not being approved by the Senate  this week, H.R.1 garnered more Senate votes than the Senate Democrats’ competing proposal.

This short term CR is expected to be considered by the House next week. To view the text of the legislation, please visit: www.rules.house.gov

A summary of the program reductions and terminations in H.J.Res. 48 follows:   
H.J.Res 48 reduces or terminates a total of 25 programs for a savings of $3.5 billion.

  • Preserve America (National Park Service) = -$4.6 million. This grant program – which promotes “heritage tourism” – was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Save America’s Treasures grant program (National Park Service) = -$14.8 million. The program – originally slated as a two year initiative to commemorate the year 2000 Millennium – was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Climate Effects Network – Science Application (U.S. Geological Survey) = -$10.5 million. This program to “provide data for forecasting the effects of climate change” was not funded in the President’s budget request.
  • Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Funding (EPA) = -$5 million. This funding was provided by the last Congress for the EPA to assist Congress in enacting the Cap and Trade legislation. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request.
  • Local Government Climate Change Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. This program was not funded in the President’s budget request. In addition, the Administration has indicated that this program lacks focus and  effectiveness, and is too broad to allow fair competition for grants.
  • Targeted Airshed Grants (EPA) = -$10 million. The program funds diesel retrofits and replacements for pollution reduction. Funding for similar programs is already available, and the program was not funded in the President’s budget request. 
  • Construction Funding Rescission (National Park Service) = -$25 million. This cut rescinds unobligated balances from completed construction projects.
  • Wildland Fire Suppression Rescission (U.S. Forest Service) = -$200 million. These funds were carried over from last year, and were not needed or used for last year’s fire suppression efforts. This rescission was included Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Single Family Housing (Department of Agriculture) = -$144 million. This reduction was requested in the President’s budget request. These  funds for this unsubsidized loan guarantee are no longer necessary due to the authorization of a borrower fee. In addition, this reduction was included in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Customs and Border Protection – Construction (Department of Homeland Security) = -$107 million. This rescission of unneeded construction and planning funding was requested by the agency, and was part of the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal. 
  • Emergency Steel Loans (Commerce Department) = -$48 million. The CR rescinds the remaining balances from prior year appropriations for the Emergency Steel, Oil, and Gas Guaranteed Loan Program Account. Only three loans have been made under this program and no new loans have been made since 2003.  Similar rescissions were proposed in the President’s budget request.
  • Public Telecommunications Facilities and Construction (Commerce Department = -$19 million. The mandated conversions of public television stations to digital broadcasting and other mandated conversion efforts are now completed and the funds are no longer necessary. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request.
  • Census Rescission (Commerce Department) = -$1.74 billion. These funds were appropriated in Fiscal Year 2010 to conduct the 2010 Decennial Census.  The Census is complete and these balances are no longer needed.
  • Career Pathways Innovation Fund (Labor Department) = -$125 million. This reduction was included in the President’s budget request, as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal. This discretionary funding is not necessary as the program received $500 million in mandatory funding provided in the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”
  • Community Service Employment for Older Americans (Labor Department) = -$225 million. This funding was originally provided as one-time funds. The funding was not included in the President’s budget request, nor the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • State Health Access Grants (Health and Human Services Department) = -$75 million. Only 13 states receive funding through this program, and the program was terminated in the President’s budget request.
  • Flu Funding (Health and Human Services Department) = -$276 million. The bill reduces this “no-year” pandemic influenza funding, while continuing approximately $65 million in annual flu funding. There is sufficient carry-over funding available to the agency to cover any necessary long-term costs. This “no-year” funding was eliminated in the President’s request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  •  “Parklawn” Building Lease (Health and Human Services) = -$35 million. The bill reduces funding for the Public Health Service building in Rockville, MD. The reduction was included in the President’s budget request, and in the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting = -$50 million. The bill terminates the “Fiscal Stabilization Fund” which provides funding increases to public broadcasting stations to offset reduced public donations. The bill also terminates the “Radio Interconnection” project that was completed in 2010. These programs were also terminated in the President’s budget request as well as the Senate Democrats’ most recent CR proposal.
  • Internet Technology Funds (Social Security Administration) = -$200 million. The CR reduces carry-over funding for information technology and telecommunication activities. The funds in this account do not expire – essentially creating a “slush fund” which totaled over $825 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2011. The SSA budget requested use of only $200 million of this funding this year, and the reduction of $200 million in this bill leaves more than sufficient funding available. This reduction was also included in the Senate Democrats’ recent CR proposal.
  • Brownfields Redevelopment (Housing and Urban Development Department) = -$17.5 million. All activities undertaken by this program are also eligible for funding through the Community Development Block Grant. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s budget request.
  • Railroad Safety Technology Program (Federal Railroad Administration) = -$50 million. The Department has not released significant grants under this program, and the technology is not yet fully developed. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s request. 
  • Chief Administrative Officer – Salaries and Expenses (House of Representatives) = -$1.5 million. This CR reduces 38 unneeded and unfilled House operations positions, and reduces contractor funding within the House of Representatives.
  • Library of Congress – Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission = -$0.75 million. This commission is no longer in existence and therefore no funds are necessary.
  • International Fund for Ireland (State Department) = -$17 million. This funding was expected to end last year, and the program’s annual report from last year states that they would not be seeking further contributions after 2010. This funding also was not requested in the President’s budget request.

    Earmark Terminations: 

    The CR eliminates $2.6 billion in earmark account funding that was automatically renewed in the CR approved by the previous Congress in December. In previous years, this funding would have gone to earmarked programs and projects. These earmark cuts include:
    Agriculture
    -$24 million – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Salaries and Expenses 
    -$37 million – Natural Resources Conservation Service – Conservation Operations
    -$30 million – Natural Resources Conservation Service – Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations
    -$3 million – Rural Community Development Grants
    -$3 million – National Center for Natural Products
    -$3 million – Agricultural Pest Facility 
    -$10 million – Various Agricultural Grants 
    -$115 million – Agriculture Research Service
    -$122 million – National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Research and Education 
    -$11 million – National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Extension
    Commerce/Justice/Science
    -$5 million – International Trade Administration – Operations and Administration
    -$2 million – Minority Business Development
    -$20 million –NIST – Scientific and Technology Research 
    -$47 million – NIST – Research Facility Construction 
    -$99 million – NOAA – Operations, Research, and Facilities 
    -$18 million – NOAA – Procurement Acquisition and Construction 
    -$185 million – State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance – Byrne projects 
    -$91 million – Juvenile Justice Programs 
    -$169 million – Community Oriented Policing Services – Technology projects
    -$25 million – Community Oriented Policing Services – Methamphetamine projects
    -$63 million – NASA – Cross Agency Support
    Financial Services/General Government
    -$3 million – Community Development Financial Institutions
    -$2 million – ONDCP – Federal Drug Control Programs
    -$2 million – District of Columbia – Chief Financial Officer (federal funds)
    -$894 million – GSA Federal Buildings Fund – Construction
    -$130 million – GSA Federal Buildings Fund – Repair and Alterations
    -$16 million – National Archives and Records – Repairs and Restoration
    -$59 million – Small Business Administration – Salaries and Expenses
    Interior
    -$1 million – Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Management of Lands and Resources
    -$2 million – BLM – Construction
    -$3 million – BLM – Land Acquisition 
    -$12 million – Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – Resource Management 
    -$10 million – FWS – Construction
    -$22 million – FWS – Land Acquisition
    -$10 million – National Park Service (NPS) – Historic Preservation – Save Americas Treasures
    -$6 million – NPS National Recreation and Preservation – Statutory or Contractual aid
    -$23 million – NPS – Construction
    -$17 million – NPS – Land Acquisition
    -$7 million – U.S. Geological Survey – Surveys, Investigations, and Research
    -$1 million – Bureau of Indian Affairs – Operation of Indian Programs
    -$1 million – Office of Insular Affairs – Assistance to Territories
    -$6 million – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Science and Technology
    -$26 million – EPA – Environmental Programs and Management
    -$1 million – EPA – Buildings and Facilities
    -$172 million – EPA – Tribal Assistance Grants
    -$8 million – EPA – “Hunter’s Point” project
    -$0.4 million – Forest Service (FS) – Forest and Rangeland Research
    -$6 million – FS – State and Private Forestry
    -$1 million – FS – National Forest System
    -$7 million – FS – Capital Improvement and Maintenance
    -$30 million – FS – Land Acquisition 
    -$6 million – FS – Wildland Fire Management

Please write to your congressional representative to tell them why these programs are critical to your work today!

Humanities at the Forefront of Congressional Vote on National Budget

The Annual Meeting for the National Humanities Alliance took place on March 7, 2011 at George Washington University, followed by Humanities Advocacy Day on March 8 at Capitol Hill. The Annual Meeting was an opportunity to provide concrete ways to exemplify and frame arguments to support the humanities, skills meeting participants would need for the following Advocacy day.

AAA’s Director of Public Affairs, Damon Dozier was featured in a three member panel that exemplified the field of humanities. Dozier emphasized the importance of education through the biological sciences and cultural perceptions o f race. Through the RACE: Are We So Different? public education program, AAA has spurred dialogue across the nation to embrace cultural differences and rethink preconceived notions of race and racism in the United States.

Bill Davis, AAA’s Executive Director, joined NHA’s national delegation that met with congressional members that hold stature within congressional committees. Damon Dozier and Joslyn Osten, Marketing & Communications Manager, joined first-time constituent lobbyist, Hollis Clayson of Northwestern University in meeting with the representatives of Illinois. While all meetings with congressional staffers were fruitful, feedback led to the conclusion that the representatives who have a history of supporting humanities will work out the best possible solution to minimize the financial impact of the national budget on humanities funding.

Although NHA’s Advocacy Day was a success, lobbying for humanities funding cannot be completed in just one day. Congress will be voting this week and in the coming weeks on bills and revisions to settle the national budget. NHA and AAA need your help in communicating the critical need for funding the research and grant-related programming offered in your communities today. Contact your congressional representative now to demonstrate your support for humanities and visit NHA’s website to stay tuned in to the latest budgetary developments.

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