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AAA Calls For Repair of Hiring Practices At U Illinois

The American Anthropological Association recently sent a letter (140904 AAA_Officers_Ltr_Wise_re_Salaita) to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise, asking her to do her utmost to repair the hiring process that was breached when the university rescinded an offer of employment extended to and accepted by Dr. Stephen Salaita last October. The AAA normally does not interfere with individual hiring, promotion, or tenure decisions. However, in this case, it appears that significant weight was accorded to factors other than scholarly merit, teaching excellence, and community service, and AAA does indeed speak out when it appears that factors other than academic excellence appear to have been applied.

One can read more about the case here:

http://aaup.org/file/AAUPLetterChancellorWise.pdf

And one can see additional letters written by some of our sister societies here:

  1.  Modern Language Association (MLA)
  2.  American Historical Association (AHA)
  3.  American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
  4.  American Studies Association (ASA)
  5.  Cultural Studies Association (CSA)
  6.  Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

Webinar Wednesdays: Engaging Anthropology

Webinar Wednesdays return on September 17th.

Anthropology in business will be the theme of Dr. Ken Erickson’s presentation when Webinar Wednesdays return on September 17 (2pm Eastern). Participation is open to all, but you must register. While you are registering, check out the library of earlier webinars available for streaming.

Dr. Erickson is the CEO of PacEth — a small market and design research firm that uses anthropological methods to help organizations understand consumers and design better products and services for them — and International Business faculty member at the Darla Moore School of Business, U. South Carolina

Webinar Description:

Doing “Consumer” Anthropology, Warnings and Advice*

Whether its burgers or Boeing, anthropological technique and theory have found significant purchase in the business world. Sometimes. The questions Anthropologists ask often lead to discomfiting revisions in thinking about who buys products and services and what using or experiencing them means. Bringing anthropological stories to the enterprise table can even raise fundamental questions about the nature of business. Fundamental questions (about value, valuation, sustainability, and suffering caused by organizations, for example) need not be laid aside while asking and answering enterprise tactical questions. Using video examples and tales from the field, this webinar offers tips and tricks for finding an anthropological focus that can be heard and, sometimes, become levers to think about and change organizational practices.

Click here to add this event to your calendar!

This webinar is free but registration is required

The password for the event will be “anthro”

Tell Senate to Reject Amendments that Cut Social Science Funding!

AAA Members:

The Senate may vote on the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill (S. 2437) as soon as the week of June 16.  The bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Census Bureau, and other agencies and programs important to the social and behavioral science community, advanced through the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 5. In its current form, the bill preserves funding for federal social and behavioral science programs. Details on the funding levels included in S. 2437 as reported by the Appropriations Committee can be found here.  The bill now heads to the Senate floor, likely in the coming days.

It is likely that we will see amendments offered on the Senate floor seeking to cut funding for programs important to the social science community.  Write to your Senators TODAY and tell them to oppose any amendment that would divert funding away from social and behavioral science programs or attack specific fields of research.  It is possible that we could see a replay of the “Coburn amendment” that targeted the NSF political science program in FY 2013.

Take Action

You can follow the debate on Twitter by following @COSSADC@AmericanAnthro, @Liebow4 #S2437 and #Stand4Science.

New Volume of the Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association

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Read the new volume of Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association on “inalienable wealth” in AnthroSource!

“Inalienable possessions,” as conceptualized by Annette Weiner (1985, 1992), are objects imbued with meaning and value based on the social identity of the original and subsequent owners. They maintain attachment to their owner- even when passed to other individuals- although this attachment may not always be physical. These objects also contain embedded histories and knowledge and legitimate identity and authority. According to Weiner (1985):

The primary value of inalienability, however, is expressed through the power these objects have to define who one is in an historical sense. The object acts as a vehicle for bringing past time into the present, so that the histories of ancestors, titles, or mythological events become an intimate part of a person’s present identity. To lose this claim to the past is to lose part of who one is in the present. In its inalienability, the object must be seen as more than an economic resource and more than an affirmation of social relations (210).

This innovative and exciting volume of the Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association (AP3A) emerged from an organized session sponsored by the Archaeology Division of the AAA for the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Session participants and authors were asked to apply Weiner’s concept of “inalienable wealth” to prehistoric cultures in Mesoamerica. The result is a deep reflection on “inalienable wealth” as a theoretical construct that can assist archaeologists- and anthropologists across the four fields- in understanding how artifacts and materials gain value and have been used in specific historical moments “to create, maintain, or destroy identity, hierarchy, and social relations” (Kovacevich and Callaghan 2014:8). In using the concept of “inalienable wealth,” the authors in this volume of AP3A have brought new perspectives and understandings to issues of identity formation, social hierarchy, labor and production, land and social difference in prehistoric Mesoamerica.

Read the Introduction by Brigitte Kovacevich and Michael G. Callaghan here.*

*Content is open and accessible for 30 days through Wiley Online Library.

Citations:

Kovacevich, Brigitte and Michael G. Callaghan
2013     Introduction: Inalienability, Value, and the Construction of Social Difference. AP3A 23(1).

Weiner, Annette
1985     Inalienable Wealth. American Ethnologist 12: 210-227.
1992     Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-while-Giving. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Call for New Editor of Open Anthropology

Open Anthropology is a digital-only publication of the AAA. Each year, three fresh themes open up anthropology to new readers. For instance, “Marriage and Other Arrangements” coincided with the US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and drew public policy makers and gay activists’ attention to anthropological analyses of the family. Each issue in Open Anthropology is culled from the rich archive of AAA publications and its contents are freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles.

“We hope that Open Anthropology will help make anthropology and anthropologists more visible outside the academy and expand our role in important social issues and policy discussions” says former AAA President, Leith Mullings.

Starting in 2015, AAA is seeking a new editor for Open Anthropology. Candidates need prior experience reaching out to public readers and have a track record of commitment to anthropology as a four- or five-field discipline. Appointment will be made by the AAA Executive Board and interested candidates are encouraged to send cover letters, resumes, and a list of proposed themes to Oona Schmid, Director, Publishing at AAA (oschmid@aaanet.org) by 1 April 2014.

Anthropologists Respond to Gender-Citation Disparity

On December 11, the Chronicle of Higher Ed article “New Data Show Articles by Women Cited Less Frequently” by Megan O’Neil, caused anthropologists, Virginia Dominguez, Matthew Gutmann and Catherina Lutz, to look introspectively at the discipline of anthropology. In the article, O’Neil notes “Research papers and peer-reviewed articles written principally by women are cited less frequently than those whose dominant authors are men, compounding the underrepresentation of women in scholarly publishing, according to a new study.”

Dominguez, Gutmann and Lutz agree with O’Neil in their Anthropology News article, released today, “Problem of Gender and Citations Raised Again in New Research Study”, these anthropologists recognize that the citation problems are not only prevalent in the fields O’Neil reveals (computer science, engineering, mathematics), but also in anthropology itself.

Although O’Neil’s article focuses on gender disparities, anthropologists note that “(t)his issue is not restricted to questions of gender and should also be extended to race and other forms of distinction.”  While strides have been made over the years to bring women to the forefront of the discipline, “(i)t is a question of citing top scholarship in all our work, and explicitly recognizing that this process must include vigilance against bias of all kinds related to factors like gender, race, class, and nationality.” In pledging their citation vigilance, the authors call their colleagues and the institutions to action in augmenting citations of all top scholarship.

Read the entire article “Problem of Gender and Citations Raised Again in New Research Study” at http://www.Anthropology-News.org.

The Anthropologist’s Guide to the Government Shutdown

Is the government shutdown affecting anthropologists? Absolutely.

Many anthropologists work for federal agencies like the the Department of Agriculture, the National Park Service and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These agencies, as well as others, rely on members of our discipline to study, research and provide perspective on how  agency policy affects US citizens in real time. Unfortunately, with the shutdown, many of their activities may be considered “non-essential” and they will be furloughed. Alternatively, they may be considered “essential” and asked to work without pay.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has provided a list of agency contingency plans so that citizens can see how each agency plans to approach the shutdown, including a description of which employees and employee activities are considered essential to Federal government operations. We encourage members to review these lists, and contact their member of Congress to let them know that not only should the current budget impasse be resolved quickly, but also that anthropologists provide an essential role in our government.

If you are a government employee, we’d love to hear your stories about how the shutdown is affecting you so we can communicate your stories to Congress.  We promise to keep your identity private. Send your messages to ddozier@aaanet.org.

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