Showing posts with label Long Range Plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Long Range Plan. Show all posts

Friday, December 10, 2010

Daniel Lende posts insightful recap of AAA LRP "situation"

Head over to Daniel Lende's post on the Neuroanthropology blog. He does an excellent job of parsing yesterday's frankly subpar NY Times piece (consensus view about the changes has NOT been a rehashing of the El Dorado affair) as well as laying out a timeline of reactions to the changes. Great reading! And over on Twitter, Lance Gravlee shakes his head over Wade's characterization that anthropology is divided into two camps: those who are scientists and those who study race.

NY Times reports on the AAA LRP changes

Nicholas Wade reports in yesterday's NY Times on the still unresolved and still quite rancorous issues of the AAA Long Range Plan statement. The piece quotes AAA president Virginia Dominguez as saying "....the new statement could be modified if the board received any good suggestions for doing so." Apparently the statement the BAS sent to President Dominguez didn't contain any good suggestions.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Email from AAA President to membership

Revision to AAA Long Range PlanAAA []
To: Rutherford, Julienne

The following is a letter from AAA President Virginia R Dominguez regarding the association's long range plan.

Every so often an event or statement captures the attention of anthropologists on important issues for the profession, regardless of the intentions of those involved in sponsoring the event or formulating the statement. The past 10-12 days are an excellent example.

When such an issue presents itself, I hope we can use these moments of reflections and debate to strengthen our profession and our engagement with it. I have long been interested in who we are, what work we do, and how our commonalities and differences (past and present) are all still anchored in our shared interest in humanity in all of its aspects and diversity.

I urge you to read the statement issued by the four AAA officers yesterday and posted on the AAA Home Page along with a direct link to the document that sparked the recent discussion and public debate.

The document to which I refer is a revised AAA Long Range Plan. The plan, originally adopted and occasionally amended by the AAA Executive Board, is one element of the Board's process of planning for the future, our use of resources, and our stewardship of the association. The AAA Executive Board uses it as it fulfills its legal duty to the AAA membership to plan for a sustainable future.

Upon reading the revised Long Range Plan, if you have suggestions to strengthen and improve it, I urge you to forward them to me at or post them on the AAA Blog so that the AAA Executive Board can benefit from your wisdom and counsel.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The AAA responds

The AAA officers released a statement about the rewording of the mission.

Long-Range Plan

From the officers of the AAA to our membership:

Our AAA long-range plan needed updating in order to address the changing composition of the profession and the needs of the AAA membership. At its November 20 meeting in New Orleans, the Executive Board specified, concretized, and enlarged its operational roadmap for investing the Association’s resources towards a sustainable future. Section leadership was consulted prior to the New Orleans Annual Meeting, and the Executive Board acted. Then immediately after the highly attended 2010 AAA Meetings in New Orleans, some criticisms of the plan were circulated electronically that had not been sent our way prior to the Meetings. Among them were thoughtful responses from several quarters, many queries about hearsay, and some suggestions for improvement or change. These responses, however, were amped up by blog headline editors earlier this week: “Anthropology Without Science” and “No Science Please. We’re Anthropologists.” We believe that the source of the problem speaks to the power of symbols: we replaced the term “science” in the preface of this planning document by a more specific (and inclusive) list of research domains, while explicitly acknowledging that the Association’s central focus is to promote the production, circulation, and application of anthropological research findings. Each one of us (the four officers of the AAA) may add or comment on the issues separately, but collectively we care about letting the entire association see the document at hand. We know that comments will continue to come our way and we welcome them from our clearly engaged membership.

Virginia R. Dominguez, President
Leith Mullings, President-Elect
Debra L. Martin, Secretary
Edward Liebow, Treasurer

Interesting that they blame bloggers for "amping up" the response. Wonder if they noticed that a lot of the bloggers were some of their own? I think it's good that they are considering this as an example of the power of symbols, but wonder why this didn't occur to them sooner. Indeed, according to their own spokesperson a few days ago, the AAA wasn't prepared for the impact of that symbolism:
"Mr. Dozier, meanwhile, believes that this month's dispute has been rooted in miscommunication. "We wanted to choose language that described our purposes in more expansive ways," he says. No one realized, he says, how loaded the word "science" actually might be."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Biological Anthropology Section's statement to the AAA Executive Board

Many thanks to the executive board of the Biological Anthropology Section of the AAA for officially expressing the widely-shared concern about the new wording of the AAA Statement of Purpose.

Karen Strier, the new chair of the BAS, sent an email to the BAS membership to let us know of this statement and made some great, results-oriented suggestions to increase the profile of biological anthropology within AAA. With permission, I share the email here for BANDITs who do not belong to BAS:

Dear BAS Members,

I am writing as the new Chair of BAS, having just replaced Darna Dufour, who deserves recognition and appreciation for her service as BAS Chair these past two years. I had been expecting to slowly ease into the job at the close of the AAA meetings in New Orleans, but alas, the news about the AAA Executive Board's (EB) revisions to the Mission Statement hit my desk right after I returned from the meetings and, well, here we are.

Briefly, for those who haven't seen any of the emails or blogs, the concerns pertain to the revised rewording in the AAA's mission statement from the long range planning committee. The revision excludes the word "science," which we think sends the wrong message about anthropology in general and the place of biology in it, in particular. The revision also refocuses the emphasis from being about advancing "anthropology as the science that studies humankind..." to be about advancing "the public understanding of humankind.".

I am writing to assure you that the Executive Committee of the BAS is among the many representatives from many sections that are challenging these revisions. Our message to the President and EB of the AAA has been submitted, and a copy of it has been posted on the BAS website.

We are confident that the AAA statement will be re-evaluated and subsequently revised as a result of the objections it has generated. Therefore, I hope that you will all stand by BAS during this time. It is especially important that we have the strength of our membership numbers behind our voice right now.

This is also an opportune moment to encourage you to increase your participation in BAS and the overall presence of Biological Anthropologists in the AAA. Here are a few of the ways you can do this:

1. Nominate worthy books for the 2011 W.W. Howells Book Award.

Deadline is Feb 1, 2011; nominations should be sent to Sara Stinson:

2. Organize a session or volunteer a paper or poster presentation at the 2011 AAA meetings, which will be in Montreal. Deadlines for abstracts are in the early spring; watch for the call from AAA.

3. If you are a student or know an eligible student, consider entering in the 2011 BAS Student Prize competition when it is announced.

4. Vote in our upcoming BAS election. We are preparing a slate of amazing candidates for the 2011 elections.

5. Self-nominate, or tell someone else that you would like to be nominated, for future BAS positions and/or committees of the AAA. The more representation we have on the latter, the more we can shape the Association to represent ourselves.

6. Attend the 2011 AAA meetings. Our 2011 Distinguished Lecture will be given by Jonathan Marks.

7. Send any news you may have for publication in AnthroNews to the BAS Newsletter editor, Virginia Vitzthum:

8. Send any news or updates (e.g., field schools, summer programs, etc.) for the BAS website to our webmaster, Kate Pechenkina:

More information about BAS activities can be found at our website. We are in the process of updating the website, so please be patient. If you can't find what you're looking for, please let us know.

Thanks to all of you for your continuing support of BAS.

Best wishes,

Karen Strier

Chair, BAS