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This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.
Today’s feature are the candidates for Executive Board Biological Seat: Geoff Clark and Lorena Madrigal.
Members of the AAA Executive Board (EB) help to set the vision and strategic direction of the association, safeguard the organization’s assets, and ensure the fiscal, legal and ethical integrity of the association. EB members also translate the shared values and interests of the members into organizational plans and programs, determine desired organizational outcomes, and assess progress in achieving those outcomes. Click here for complete position details.
To paraphrase the Wenner-Gren Foundation, I take anthropology to be the ‘world sciences of humankind’ and our mandate to be to arrive at a better understanding of our biological and cultural heritage as social primates both in the past and the present. My own field, paleoanthropology, approaches this goal by integrating human paleontology, paleolithic archaeology, molecular biology, primatology and allied disciplines under the overarching conceptual framework of evolutionary biology. Like its founders, I think paleoanthropology has something unique to contribute to a better understanding of the human career and that all its subfields can potentially play a role in doing that. But we must not only tackle the big intellectual issues (e.g., what does it mean, biologically and culturally, to be a ‘modern human’?), but also try to convey this knowledge to an American public famously skeptical of science. If we abdicate our responsibility to take principled stands on controversial public issues central to the very areas of our own expertise, we surrender the stage to those less qualified than we to make informed contributions to the resolution of these issues. If elected, I would emphasize this ‘activist’ aspect of our field – contesting the claims of the various anti- and pseudo-science constituencies arrayed against us.
As an active member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, I am aware of the fact that there are many members of the AAPA who are not members of the AAA. In the past, some of us in the AAPA have felt that biological anthropology has not had a place of importance within the AAA. However, this has changed. In my own experience in a AAA committee, I have been able to see how biological anthropology has been incorporated and welcomed. My hope is that if I am elected in one of the Executive Board Biological Seats, AAPA members will see a familiar name in the AAA board, given that I just stepped down from the presidency of the AAPA. If I am elected to this position, my goal is to represent the interests of biological anthropologists, and therefore, to bring more biological anthropologists into the fold of the AAA. People are more likely to join an association if they see themselves, and their interests represented in it. In sum, I will stand up for biological anthropology in the AAA.
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