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SUNTA Undergraduate Paper Prize, Submissions Due September 15th, 2012

The Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology is pleased to announce its undergraduate paper prize competition. We are seeking nominations — by faculty — of student papers that address SUNTA’s interests, including refugees and immigrants, space and place, and poverty and homelessness. The prize includes a $150 award. The winner will be announced at the 2012 AAA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Papers should be submitted by email to Alaka Wali at  awali@fieldmuseum.org by September 15th, 2012.

Alternative submission arrangements can be made through contacting Alaka Wali at the email above. Authors who are undergraduates or who have graduated within the 2012 calendar year are eligible for the competition, as long as the submission was composed while s/he was an undergraduate. Although submissions will be accepted from faculty only (students may not submit papers on their own), faculty need not write in support: a nomination is sufficient — letters of recommendation/justification are welcome but not required. International entries are encouraged. SUNTA membership is not required.

Papers should be no more than 30 double-spaced pages, 12-point font, including bibliography, notes and images/figures.  Papers should be single-author,  not co-authored.  The paper’s formatting (e.g., citations, bibliographies etc.) should be consistent throughout. Send queries to Alaka Wali, awali@fieldmuseum.org.

Executive Session Proposal Deadline Extended.

Executive Session proposals will be accepted through 5pm EDT on Friday, February 3, 2012.

This year the AAA created a new online portal for executive session proposals.  For the first time, with few exceptions organizers and panelists must register for the meetings in order for the session to be considered.  We also are strongly encouraging, but not requiring, individual paper abstracts to be submitted and not just the names of panelists.  We have received emails from organizers who have expressed concerns about both of these changes.

With respect to early registration, if a panelist needs to delay his or her registration, the organizer may contact the executive program chair (2012aaaprogramchair@gmail.com).  Also, please be aware that the AAA has always had a policy of reimbursing registration fees if a panelist cannot attend because his or her panel was not chosen.

With respect to paper abstracts, more information about the session simply helps the executive program committee make a more informed decision.  Given that these changes were a surprise for a few session organizers, we are extending the deadline for panel abstracts until February 3, 2012.

President Dominguez To Give AAA Presidential Address Tonight

 Join AAA President Virginia R. Dominguez for her AAA Presidential Address.

The Address, titled “Comfort Zones and Their Dangers: Who Are We? Qui Sommes-Nous?”, will be given in the Palais de Congrès Room 516CD at 18:15.

Discussing New Reproductive Technologies at Annual Meeting

We’re pleased to share this blog post from special AN reporter Marianne Butler. She reports here on sessions about reproductive technology.

Vignettes of foetuses being asked to serve as “expert witnesses” in determining when life begins, through the reproduction of the “socially dead” and the tracing of reproductional debris, to an elision of counting embryos and counting sheep as both serve to lessen anxiety, the first two days of the AAA conference have offered a plethora of insights into the domain of “New Reproductive Technologies” (NRTs) or “Assisted Reproductive Technologies” (ARTs).

The papers I have thus far had the privilege of listening to cover widely divergent branches of the emergent field of technological assistance in the domain of human reproduction, as my summaries above show. However, in this blog post I would like to highlight some themes I have found to be particularly poignant.

Connections between morality and legality thread their way through discussions of NRTs.  When questions of surrogacy are addressed, the moral dichotomies portrayed in popular media coverage “good” (altruistic) and “bad” (commercial) are reflected in legal determinations of what kinds of surrogacy are legal and illegal. The depiction of NRTs as purely medical interventions solving medical problems by medical practitioners is brought into question when the social, religious and legal considerations of the technologies are evaluated.  Individual desires shape the use of NRTs, often contrary to the intentions of the policy makers regulating their usage.  Additionally, reflections on the notions of what the purpose of recording information is for in assisted reproduction, whether that be in decisions over anonymity, or the number of embryos currently being used for stem cell research, have been analytically stimulating. 

Reproductive technology, is very far from being a utilitarian tool. Rather it is shaped by the social, moral, ethical, religious and legal mores and norms of the people using it, those reflecting on its usage and those determining how others can use it.

Top 5 features of the AAA 110th Annual Meeting App

Download the Annual Meeting App before you head to Montréal. With this new app, here are the top 5 of the many features that we like:

  1. My Show – this feature allows you to set your own personalized meeting schedule.
  2. Event Info – this feature has a nifty search function where you can find the sought out session by day, keyword, or speaker. You can also check out the interactive hotel map.
  3. Montreal – this page leads you to the TripBuilder Top Spots and includes dining and tourist suggestions in your local vicinity. It even provides weather reports!
  4. Alerts – this feature provides special AAA announcements during the Annual Meeting.
  5. Social Media – this page links you to AAA’s social media outlets. Remember #AAA2011 is the official hashtag of the Annual Meeting.

We hope you enjoy using this free app and its many features!

Student Membership Opportunity

Are you a student already registered for the Annual Meeting?

There are 44 volunteer time slots remaining! Volunteer a minimum of 8 hours (2 time slots) and get a FREE! Student Membership.

In three simple steps, you’ll be signed-up to volunteer:

1. Check out the volunteer opportunities.
2. Pick the available time slots that fit your schedule.
3. E-mail Joslyn {josten@aaanet.org} with desired day(s) and time slots.

After completing your volunteered time, if you’ve volunteered for 8 hours or more, you will get a one-year student membership.

Lend a helping hand today!

Photo by Holtsman

Going to the Annual Meeting? We’ve got your app for that.

Calling all smartphone users-

The American Anthropological Association unveils the very first Annual Meeting app.  Use the app to personalize your schedule, map your trip logistics, stay up to date with meeting announcements and much more!

Download the app now.

Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology Sponsors Session on Disability

Today’s guest blog post comes from Devva Kasnitz (Society for Disability Studies) and highlights an upcoming panel discussion entitled “Tidemarks and Frontiers: Disability in Anthropology“. This discussion will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 10:15-12:00pm. Thanks Devva!

In Montreal, the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology (CMIA) is pleased to sponsor a panel called Tidemarks and Frontiers: Disability in Anthropology, organized by Amber Clifford-Napoleon. I will have the honor of participating along with Joseph Kaufert, Jill LeClair, Karen Besterman-Dehan, and Discussant Lenore Manderson. Disability issues have been reframed and a growing part of academia since disability studies emerged as a new specialty in the 1980s. The right to full access has been part of higher education law since 1974 and general law from 1993. Why then is it still a frontier? Why is it an active area of concern for the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology?

PANEL ABSTRACT: In 1993, the AAA adopted a statement on disability stating that the AAA “encourages faculty to adopt and apply an attitude of acceptance, adventure, collegiality, and respect toward disabled persons in the attainment of their goals, and commit themselves to becoming knowledgeable with regard to disabilities through interactions with disabled persons (including students), seeking expert input, and reading texts outside of mainstream anthropology on the topic of disability.” While this statement represented a tidemark for both disabled anthropologists and the anthropologists of disability, there are still many frontiers left ignored. How has anthropology responded to the AAA call for disability awareness? On this 110th anniversary of the AAA, what challenges remain for disabled anthropologists and anthropologists of disability within the discipline and the profession? Have anthropologists “committed themselves” to a deeper understanding of disability?

The panel session “Tidemarks and Frontiers: Disability in Anthropology” will bring together anthropologists to discuss and explore the status of disability in 21st century anthropology. Panelists will discuss the historical position of disability in the AAA, the intersections of disability with other categories of difference, and the importance of a focus on disability in holistic anthropological research. The panelists will also examine the challenges of accessibility, visibility, and professional parity that disabled anthropologists face within the profession, as well as the issues anthropologists of disability frame as integral to understanding cultural experience.

 At first I was hesitant to participate. I’m a bit tired of being the only visibly disabled person talking about marginalization in the Association and the profession. But, I am new to the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology and although my campaign was not the first to mention disability as a major experience of minority, it was the first one to foreground it successfully. Bringing my CMIA colleagues up to date, we have talked about the AAA Presidential Commission Disability of the 1990s and the Society for Medical Anthropology, Disability Research Special Interest Group (DRSIG), which is almost 30 years old. Has anthropology and the AAA responded to the 1993 statement on disability in the abstract above? Somewhat, you judge.

Internal to AAA, the SMA DRSIG would prefer to not have to be concerned with issues of meeting access. However, when people have problems, they come to us. There have been enough of these of late that we are trying to build some structure. To date, AAA has dealt with access issues on an individual basis. Our sessions have always been scheduled exactly as we request, once we learned to make very specific, unsolicited requests with our session proposals. AAA has well recognized that planning can avoid problems.

Relatively few individuals make disability access requests. Accommodation for D/deaf members has been the most trying (and expensive to AAA), with confusion over sign interpretation versus live captioning or an FM loop. There is the further confusion in that disability studies and D/eaf studies are not the same and that many students of both or either are organized academically within AAA in linguistics or education, or among the Senior Anthropologists, and do not necessarily identify with medical anthropology. (Our DRSIG has thought of moving to CAE.) However, it is long overdue that all disabled AAA members and their allies know what to expect and how to request best practice solutions to well understood access issues and to new challenges.

In my paper, I’ll use myself as an example. After over 40 years of regular attendance and active participation, I am as “out” as disabled as any AAA member. As my speech impairment worsened in the last 15 years, I always present with a “revoicer,” a “voice interpreter” or echo who repeats my words. My colleagues have always done this for me. However, in the last 5 years I have realized this is getting more difficult for them, some of them are now having hearing issues, and it also makes me less independent. Also, I want to set an example for young speech-impaired scholars of the help they have the right to request whether to deliver a paper, go to the placement service, or try to sell a manuscript to a publisher at the book exhibit. This year, for the first time, I decided to ask AAA to hire me a revoicer for 2 of my 4 official AAA responsibilities, my paper presentation and the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology meeting. In the service of AAA financial austerity, I plan on continuing to request help from colleagues for the 2 events I will Chair, a panel and the DRSIG.

First, I filled out the “ADA” needs field of the required registration for the March 15th 2011 deadline for an invited session. The field allowed only a brief note “I will require a “revoicer.” The best source is an ASL interpreter. Another option may be possible t” and I was cut off. I thought, “oh well, they will need to contact me anyhow.” In the scheduling field I had already entered “Because of significant speech impairment I use a voice interpreter, or revoicer. This is not like ASL or other simultaneous translation. Therefore, the chair of any session I am in may ask for up to double time for me to present.” Second, the email informing us of the scheduling of our session concluded with “Lastly, if you need an invitation letter, handicap accessibility request or for any other information, please feel free to contact us.” Well, I had done that. Finally, concerned that I hadn’t heard anything and I needed to tell AAA about the CMIA meeting, I asked and was directed to the “Request for Meeting Accessibility Assistance” lined form on the website.

There are 2 problems here. First, we need a single clear, consistent, and highly visible point of entry into a disability accommodation request process. The more important problem, as Joe Kaufert’s paper will explore, is the significance behind the discourse used. As soon as requests for disability related assistance are tied to the ADA, we enter the world of law. The clear implication is that only what clearly fits the ADA is acceptable. The ADA is a floor, not a ceiling to help achieve disability justice. It is as if we have returned to a time when only reference to specific laws could justify requests for racial justice. Further, I can’t ever imagine needing a “handicap accessibility request.” I do not need any further access to handicap. Few people who might want to make a request could get past this antiquated language. It sounds like “negro” sounds to critical race scholars. The website simply says “meeting accessibility.” I like that except that access is not only a disability or deafness issue and the form is clearly oriented to D/deaf, or wheelchair using, AAA members.

Having the opportunity to raise these issues in the context of the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology is a huge step forward for disabled AAA members and will be part of the solution. AAA, and anthropology as a profession, lags behind other disciplines and their associations in what it has learned from disability studies and about meeting disability access. Jill LeClair will explore how disability is an understudied research variable. This is ironic as anthropologists have disproportionately been involved in the development of disability studies. Three of the last four presidents of the Society for Disability Studies are anthropologists. Karen Besterman-Dehan’s presentation will consider this theme. AAA needs to recognize, celebrate, and enhance this contribution to local and international disability justice as it gets its own house in order.

Learn about Digital Audio Field Recording for Ethnography

This full-day AAA workshop (4-0325) at the Annual Meeting in Montreal on Friday, November 18, will thoroughly address both digital audio field recording options as well as best practices for digital preservation. AAA is pleased to sponsor this workshop by Andy Kolovos, the Vermont Folklife Center’s archivist and staff folklorist. He’s run this workshop at other venues and we’re pleased he’s able to share his knowledge and experience with anthropologists. Sign up for it today for only $10 when you register for the meeting or login and add it to your schedule if you are already registered for the meeting.

Here’s the full description of the workshop:

This day-long workshop provides both a general introduction to digital audio field recording options for ethnographers, and an overview of digital preservation best practices to assist researchers with the preservation of their digital audio recordings—in the field and into the future.

The first half of the workshop focuses on digital audio and field recording. It includes an overview of audio recording technology and the nature of digital audio, a discussion of microphones and microphone technique suited to the field recording situations ethnographers commonly encounter, and presents information on current audio recorders, their applications and cost.

The second half the workshop is dedicated to discussions of digital preservation best practices for the short, medium and long-term preservation of field-generated audio recordings. We discuss the computer¹s role in interfacing with digital field recording equipment, examine a variety of hardware and software options, discuss and emphasize the formulation and implementation of a future technology plan for ethnographic digital audio research collections.

Workshop participants are encouraged to bring their own recording equipment for discussion.

Montréal Monday

The AAA 110th Annual Meeting will take place this year in Montréal, Quebec, Canada from November 16-20, 2011. Now is the time to renew your membership, pre-register for the Annual Meeting, book your hotel,  and add the workshops to your itinerary.

There are many sessions, workshops and events to attend during the AAA Annual Meeting. AAA President Virginia Dominquez will give a Presidential Address on Saturday, November 19 from 6:15pm to 7:30pm. This leads to today’s trivia question:

What is the title of the Presidential Address?

E-mail your answer to americananthro@gmail.com by the end of today.

Two lucky people with the correct answer will win an Annual Meeting mug from the new AAA Café Press shop. Winning answers will be announced here later in the week, so check back often.

Need a hint? Check out the searchable online program.

 

 

Quick links:
Renew your membership
Complete your meeting registration
Book your hotel
Add a workshop
Purchase the Annual Meeting Abstracts
Order your Annual Meeting Gear

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