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President Obama Supports Scientific Integrity of Anthropology

Today’s guest blog post is by AAA President Leith Mullings.

As an anthropologist and President of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), I was especially gratified to hear President Barack Obama acknowledge the discipline of anthropology and support its scientific integrity.  In a speech at the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, President Obama said:

 (Pablo Martinez Monsivais – AP)

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais – AP)

And it’s not just resources. I mean, one of the things that I’ve tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science — all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review — but in all the sciences, we’ve got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they’re not subject to politics, that they’re not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that’s why we’ve got to keep investing in these sciences.

Nearly 100 anthropologists are members of the National Academy of Sciences, many of whom are among the 12,500 active members of the AAA. In an era in which some members of Congress are attempting to undermine the peer-review process and academic freedom in research, it is heartening to have the support of the President on these important issues.

I look forward to the President’s continued support for the critical contributions anthropologists make to the understanding of human kind in all of its aspects.

Dr. Claudia Valeggia honored with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Congratulations to biological anthropologist and AAA member, Dr. Claudia Valeggia. The Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania will be honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers on October 14.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

The work for which Valeggia received the PECASE award was funded by the National Science Foundation and involves a group of Toba indigenous women and girls living in the province of Formosa in Argentina. The ongoing project aims to better understand three key life transitions: the move from infancy to childhood, puberty and menopause.  Valeggia and her colleagues take monthly measurements and other physiological data from the participants to chart physical changes in their lives.

Learn more about Dr. Valeggia’s work here.

Read the Presidential press release here.

NEH Needs Your Support

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced plans for a Continuing Resolution that would reduce spending by $74 billion below President Obama’s 2011 budget request for the remainder of the year.  This proposal would cut over $12 million from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH)!

As one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the US, NEH provides critical support for research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities through grants to a wide range of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and scholars nationwide.

Write to your representative today to let members of Congress know WHY the humanities and NEH are important to you, their constituent.

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