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AAA President-elect Distinguishably Honored By Students

AWaterstonPhoto02.2014Named the 2014 Distinguished Faculty by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Alumni Association, Dr. Alisse Waterston will be honored during the annual Alumni Reunion in April. Dr. Waterston, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice since 2003, is a cultural anthropologist who studies the human consequences of structural and systematic violence and inequality. She is the American Anthropological Association’s President-elect and Editor of the Association’s newest digital publication, Open Anthropology. Dr. Waterston is a Soros International Scholar affiliated with the Gender Studies Department, Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia. And she is the author of My Father’s Wars: Migration, Memory and the Violence of a Century, an intimate ethnography in the Routledge Series of Innovative Ethnographies.

Calling all Discussion Groups and Anthropology Clubs: Let’s Talk About the March Issue of Open Anthropology!


Has the new issue of Open Anthropology, The Social Life of Health, Illness, Medicine and Health Care, piqued your interest in anthropological understandings of health, illness, medicine, and health care? Are you interested in building the conversation on your campus or in your community? Throughout March and April, AAA is encouraging anthropology clubs and discussion groups to explore, debate and analyze contemporary issues of health, illness, medicine and health care based on the material included in the March issue of Open Anthropology.

We’d then like to hear from you! Send us stories, videos, and/or photographs that highlight and illustrate the depth, liveliness and creativity of your discussion. Two submissions will be selected to be featured on the AAA blog in May.

Jump start your conversations using these questions:

  • In what ways does the idea of the “social life of” health, illness, medicine and health care that frames the specific articles in this issue of Open Anthropology, offer a way to shift public conversations on these issues?
  • How can anthropology help identify omissions in policy and public conversations regarding health and health care?
  • In current public conversations and contemporary policy debates on health, illness, medicine and health care, how are inequality and violence engaged with- or ignored? Using these articles, how can anthropologists use ethnography to shed light on inequality and violence?
  • How have these articles intersected with your own research and/or research interests?
  • How are anthropologists across the four fields of anthropology writing about the social life of health, illness, medicine and health care? Beyond the articles presented in this issue of Open Anthropology, what additional research, theories and concepts will help us illuminate our views of health, illness, medicine and  health care?

Please submit your stories and/or photographs to Jennie at jsimpson@aaanet.org by April 30th. We look forward to your submissions!

Open Anthropology – The Social Life of Health, Illness, Medicine and Health Care: Anthropological Views


Open Anthropology, a digital-only, public publication of the American Anthropological Association, is proud to announce the release of its third issue. In this edition, The Social Life of Health, Illness, Medicine and Health Care: Anthropological Views, editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY) curates eleven articles and three book reviews of anthropological works that encompass today’s health care debate, access to insurance and quality health care, social inequity, and historical perspectives on medicinal practices and well-being across cultures.

In her prefatory remarks, Waterston reflects on the national health care conversation, noting that “(t)he whole mess – the fights, the threats, the web crashes – was successful in capturing the public’s attention,” and is left to wonder if the cacophony served to distract the public from the key issues around access to health care. Editor Waterston offers a selection of anthropology articles that “help defamiliarize the ‘normal,’ that make strange the familiar, a process that can lead to new insights, understandings, and positions.”

At a time when the issues of health care and insurance are on the national agenda, Open Anthropology provides cross-cultural information and historical perspective to inform national and global health care policy and practice. Anthropologists recognize that when it comes to health care, “We are all in the same frail boat,” as Gerald D. Berreman notes in his article featured here. Others document obstacles to health and well-being as well as success stories in the effort to provide quality health care to all.

Content in Open Anthropology is culled from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and will be freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications.

Open Anthropology is available at http://www.aaaopenanthro.org

The Second Issue of Open Anthropology is Here!

Open Anthropology 150x150Violence is the theme of the second issue of Open Anthropology. The collection “On Violence” offers information, revelations, historical facts, descriptions of context and portraits of situations over time and place, a sampling of anthropological findings on the subject. Ten articles, two book reviews, and “The Editor’s Note” comprise this anthology written by anthropologists across time, sub-discipline, and journal title culled from the full AAA collection. 

“Taken as a whole, this collection deepens understanding and draws attention to the critical ingredients in the making of violence, a phenomenon ubiquitous in the contemporary world,” notes editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY). Synthesizing major anthropological viewpoints on the topic, Dr. Waterston identifies a key feature of violence and raises central questions that anthropologists answer:  “Domination is a critical element. In what specific way is the playing field of social life uneven? Who uses violence, of what types, and to what ends?”

Content in Open Anthropology is selected from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications.

It’s time to vote in the 2013 Elections

It’s time to vote in the 2013 elections. Log-in to AnthroGateway, click on the “My Information” page, and then click on the “Vote Now!” button.

This month we’ll take a look at the candidates. Today’s feature are the candidates for President-Elect: Deborah Nichols and Alisse Waterston

The responsibilities of the President-Elect include:

  1. Serves as Chair of the Long Range Planning committee.
  2. Represents AAA at the President’s request.
  3. In the absence of the President, fulfills those duties as noted in the President’s job description.
  4. Carries out such other duties as may be assigned by the President or by the Executive Board.
  5. Serves as an ex-officio member of AAA committees (excluding nominations committee).

Click here for complete position details.

Deb NicholsDeborah Nichols

My work as an anthropologist and engagement with the AAA has been shaped by being part of a four-field anthropology department throughout my career that began doing contract archaeology. Being an anthropologist extends the intellectual breadth of my archaeological research on political economy, early states, and urbanism. The breadth of anthropology is both its greatest strength and greatest challenge. The AAA publication program provides an umbrella for anthropology’s rich variety. It should be the foremost vehicle to engage and present new anthropological understandings and knowledge and to speak to broader audiences within and beyond our discipline. If we see change as an opportunity, digital technology offers possibilities to enrich our publications, sustain their diversity and expand access as we address financial challenges. I would bring to the Presidency a broad and international engagement with anthropology, first-hand knowledge of the association, and leadership experience. I have been elected as section president and Section Assembly Convener, and I have chaired the Association’s Operating Committee and the Committee for the Future and Print and Electronic Publishing. I have served on editorial boards including for American Anthropologist, the Annual Review of Anthropology, the Society for Economic Anthropology, and Ancient Mesoamerica.

Alisse WaterstonAlisse Waterston

I would welcome the responsibility to lead AAA through the next period as it engages new possibilities in scholarly publishing, faces labor and funding crises in higher education, and more fully participates in public and policy discussions.  My leadership roles—Executive Board, ACC Chair, CFPEP Chair, Editor/Open Anthropology, Annual Meeting Program Chair, SANA Board—have provided me deep understanding of the association, and the concerns and aspirations of members and sections.  My various roles as an academic, applied, and activist anthropologist have prepared me for the challenges ahead. I consider the following issues key: 1) the future of scholarly publishing; 2) relationships and communication—internal to the association and external to AAA; 3) the labor market for anthropologists, contingent labor practices, graduate student opportunities, and prospects for applied, practicing anthropologists; 4) the future of the annual meeting, including principles to guide decisions related to it; and 5) anthropology’s role in the political, economic and social crises of our times, including militarism, poverty, and inequality. I will build on the achievements of past leadership to further the discipline’s global and local ties, and foster anthropology as an intellectual, creative and innovative discipline inside and outside the academy. I would be honored to lead the effort on these important issues, and would do so with great energy and enthusiasm.

Log-in to AnthroGateway to vote today!

Anthropology Weighs In On the Marriage Debate in New Public Journal

OpenAnthropology728x90_2Open Anthropology is the newest publication of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). It is a digital-only publication that will be provided to the public free of charge. This is the first AAA publication that uses responsive design and is readable on mobile devices, such as iPhones.

In providing this journal to the public, AAA is alerting its members and other interested audiences that it is committed to examining new approaches to journal publishing, and that some of these potential options include “open access” models for in-demand content.

In its inaugural issue, Open Anthropology editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY) curates AAA’s finest articles on marriage and other arrangements. In the issue’s ten articles and two book reviews, Waterston provides a cross-cultural sampling of the anthropological research on the subject. Waterston notes that in this issue, “Cutting through the nonsense thought and dangerous talk, anthropologists set the record straight on marriage and other arrangements.”

Content in Open Anthropology will be culled from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and will be 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. Each issue will be dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications. “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 AAA President, Leith Mullings.

Open Anthropology is available at http://www.aaaopenanthro.org.

The State of AAA’s Publishing Program

Calling all AAA members, “The State of AAA’s Publishing Program” is now available on the  Anthropology News website. Find out what is going on in the AAA publishing portfolio, the evaluation of intended and unintended consequences in adopting new publishing models in the future and the measures AAA’s Executive Board has taken to ensure financial sustainability in the publishing program.

In  the article, authors Alisse Waterston and Ed Liebow begin:

We’ve got some good news and some worrisome news about the state and future of AAA’s publishing program

The good news: At this time, publishing sections are financially healthy…. The worrisome news: Scholarly publishing is undergoing enormous change.

Profile in Publishing

The AAA publishing program operates in an ever-changing technological and market environment. The Executive Board (EB), an elected membership body charged with making decisions that tries to best represent the interests of AAA’s 38 sections (including 22 publishing sections) and its 11,000 members, takes seriously its charge to: (1) develop and maintain a diverse publishing portfolio; (2) make responsible, thoughtful decisions that support the long-term needs and interests of sections, members, and those who produce, access and reference anthropological knowledge and content; and (3) facilitate the adaptation of the publishing program to ongoing changes in publication conditions, promoting both sustainability of the publishing program and broadest possible dissemination of knowledge. At times, it is difficult to bring these multiple goals into agreement; our ideals don’t always match up with the competitive economic environment within which we all operate. AAA decisions involve balancing compromise in the context of real life contingencies and weighing consequences for the collective good.

But we are anthropologists, capable of understanding complexity. The publishing program is complicated, involving various players, 24 publications and sections of different size that produce and distribute a rich array of anthropological content in a way that does not break the bank of individual member households, sections, and AAA as a whole…

The authors look to the options of the publishing future:

CFPEP is currently evaluating alternative publishing models in a consultative process with AAA section leaders, editors, members, association officers, the EB and the AAA publishing director to develop five- and ten-year plans for AAA publishing, including but not limited to open access models…

Unanswered questions remain about how open access publishing might work for AAA, which represents a discipline distinct from others in terms of how, what and how much it publishes. The consultative process takes time to think through the consequences—intended and unintended—of such a significant transformation.

And identify the progress the AAA publishing program has made to meet the needs in this ever-changing technological and market environment:

The association has taken several specific steps towards opening up access to its publications in a way that balances fairness and equitability at the same time it makes financially responsible decisions. These steps include income-based membership dues; free access to qualifying institutions and under-resourced countries; green open access author access, among other policies (see next section). In the meantime, CFPEP and ACC continue to engage the consultative process, exploring, examining, discussing, and considering the state of AAA publishing and its future. Despite the difficulties and the obstacles, we feel a path has been cleared for AAA leadership to act responsibly while confronting challenges with open-mindedness, enthusiasm and optimism.

Get all the details by reading the entire article on the Anthropology News website.

Alisse Waterston is chair of the AAA Anthropological Communication Committee and professor of anthropology, John Jay College, City University of New York. Edward B Liebow is AAA treasurer and director of the Seattle office at Battelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation.

Haven’t clicked thru to read the article yet? Click here to read it now.


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