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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

AAA Election Candidates Announced

On April 15, the American Anthropological Association’s association-wide elections and section elections will begin.  New to this year, you can view the candidates prior to the opening of the ballot.

Here are the candidates running in the association-wide elections:

AAA Secretary (3-year term)
Rani Alexander and Margaret Buckner

AAA Executive Board (3-year term)
Cultural Seat: A Lynn Bolles and Bill Maurer
Student Seat: Ryan Harrod and Karen G Williams
Undesignated #1: Cheryl Mwaria and Peter Neal Peregrine
Undesignated #4: Kathleen Musante Dewalt and Rayna Rapp

Nominations Committee (3-year term)
Practicing/Professional Seat: Stephen Edward Nash and Sharon M Stratton
Minority Seat: Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Kimberly Eison Simmons

Committee on Ethics (3-year term)
Practicing/Professional Seat: Gregory J Borgstede and Neely Myers
Undesignated #1: Christine Hegel-Cantarella and Christopher T Nelson

Committee on the Gender Equity in Anthropology (3-year term)
Practicing/Professional Seat: Carole McDavid and Sarah Ono
Undesignated #5: Heather Levi and Marcia Ochoa

Committee for Human Rights (3-year term)
Undesignated #2: Robert Lewis Clark and Tricia Redeker-Hepner
Undesignated #3: Eva Friedlander and K Anne Pyburn

Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology (3-year term)
Undesignated #3:  Elizabeth Chin and Jennifer D Heung
Undesignated #4: Flordeliz T Bugarin and Mayanthi L Fernando

Committee on Public Policy (3-year term)
Undesignated #7: Alexander A Bauer and Susan B Hyatt

Labor Relations Committee (3-year term)
Undesignated #1: Catherine Koehler and John R Roby
Undesignated #2: Brian McKenna and Christine J Walley

There are also 38 section elections that will be occurring during this time. To view the complete list of candidates running in the section elections, click here.

Ethics Committee Announces Winners of Inaugural Small Grants Program

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) Committee on Ethics recently presented cash awards to two separate teams of anthropologists who offered proposals centered on encouraging awareness of and innovation in ethics curricular materials used in introductory, undergraduate, and graduate classes.

The goal of the AAA Small Grants Program is to foster the development and use of curricular materials for the teaching and communication of ethics and ethical practice across the discipline of anthropology. Award applicants exhibited the ability to develop curricular materials in a variety of different ways, including texts, films, blogs, websites, exhibits, and other innovative media forms.

Samuel Gerald Collins and Matthew Slover Durington of Towson University were awarded $350 for their proposal “Multimedia Ethics for a Networked Anthropology,” which seeks to formulate and freely disseminate ethical guidelines for a public anthropology premised on the production and dissemination of multimedia. These would be used for an ethical component in the methodological classes they teach, in training seminars for anthropologists and other multimedia researchers, and would contribute to a general debate on how anthropology might enjoin a public sphere characterized more and more by shared, social media.

Lakshmi Fjord and Devva Kasnitz of AAA’s Society for Medical Anthropology, Disability Research Special Interest Group were awarded $650 for their proposal, “Disability and Bioethical Curriculum: Please Mind the Gaps.” Their project is designed to address the absence of the disability experience, expertise, and theory in anthropology and bioethics curricula. The primary product will be a 3-hour (one week) class module that contains clear learning objectives addressed in multimedia and cross-learning styles and includes new PowerPoints,  lectures, and discussion notes for instructors’ use, suggested assigned and supplementary readings, suggested short assignments and suggested use of existing documentary or film clip resources.

“The Committee on Ethics is please to make these awards to two teams of scholars who are dedicated to teaching ethics in new, innovative ways,” AAA Committee on Ethics Chair Roberto Gonzalez said in a statement issued today. “I look forward to the final results of both of these projects, and am optimistic that they will provide helpful to our students, our members and our discipline.”

AAA Code of Ethics in Review

Have you reviewed AAA’s complete draft Code of Ethics? AAA members have until Saturday, September 3rd to review and comment on the draft Code of Ethics. Visit the Ethics Task Force tab at the top of this blog page for complete commentary and draft stages of this Code of Ethics review.  Be sure to share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment for the Task Force for Comprehensive Ethics Review.

Click here to review the draft to the existing Code of Ethics.


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