2006 AAA Meeting - San Jose
- The AAA annual meeting this year is being held in San Jose, California,
November 15-19. The theme is "Critical Intersections/Dangerous Issues"
(below is a brief discussion of this theme from the Executive Program
Chair, Maria Vesperi). The deadline for submissions is March 31st.
Submissions must be made electronically at the AAA website:
I would encourage anyone thinking of presenting to consider submitting
the paper/session for approval by SACC. We get very few submissions and
this would likely increase your chances for acceptance. If you want to
submit a session to be considered for a SACC invited session, you need
to submit the information to me by March 1st so we can consider the
proposals at the SACC meeting in Merida.
If you have any questions, let me know.
SACC Program Chair
2006 AAA Conference Theme
By Maria D. Vesperi, 2006 Executive Program Chair
Anthropology has reached a critical intersection in its history and
heritage as a discipline. This year's theme, "Critical
Intersections/Dangerous Issues," provides opportunities to explore and
evaluate both new and established links among increasingly specialized
areas within the field. Two standard definitions of the term "critical"
are particularly apt: "characterized by careful analysis"and
point at which change occurs." We invite papers that showcase
collaborative efforts to analyze pressing issues of archaeological,
biological, cultural, biocultural, medical and linguistic concern by
producing new intersections of knowledge. We also invite explicit
of such collaborations by those who are familiar with the potential
dangers of crossing conceptual, institutional, pedagogical and political
Some intersections have already proven to be flashpoints, as
intellectual stakeholders collide over issues of representation,
as a science, ethics, relevance and responsibility to a broader public.
Such collisions are not unprecedented; they have been endemic to the
discipline since its inception. Yet the friction that occurred at the
intersection of a San Francisco picket line and the 2004 annual meeting
unique in the immediacy of its impact on everyone within the AAAs
electronic network. Even those with no plans to attend the meeting found
opportunity to examine where they were positioned as anthropologists
within a large, intellectually diverse professional organization and
group was, should, or could be positioned as their representative to the
nation and to the world, where we are implicated in ongoing conflicts as
anthropologists and as citizens.
The challenges facing human populations today in every arena of human
biology, culture and material production seem unparalleled in depth and
scope. These challenges are themselves the dangerous results of
critical, often uncharted intersections, yet none fall beyond the
anthropological research and our combined expertise. In the late 19th
and early 20th centuries, new findings in archaeology challenged
assumptions about human origins and human impacts on environments.
Anthropologists engaged issues of eugenics and race within the academy
in highly politicized public fora. Some were moved to action as
ethnographic research took shape in an era marked by genocide
cultural and linguistic. Warfare, oppression and resistance led to
diasporic population shifts, destabilizing rifts in values and
contested identities. Accelerating ecological devastation was linked to
new technologies and the globalizing economies that fueled them. New
work-environments etched racialized and gendered inequalities on the
bodies of men, women and children. New class boundaries emerged.
medicine, sanitation and food production meant increased life spans for
some, while others faced malnutrition, degraded environments and
The list is long and the issues endure. We invite presentations on these
and similar topics, informed by historical examination of past
with dangerous issues and focused on knowledge production and how it is
applied within the academy and beyond. While a handful of
worked in comparative isolation a century ago, the association's 11,500
members are now united in cyberspace. Our projects continue to draw on
cultural-material, linguistic, environmental, and biological findings in
history and prehistory. Increased employment outside traditional
departments has led to new intersections of anthropological knowledge,
its practice and its application. Theoretical models used by
anthropologists are multi-disciplinary in origin and in implementation.
Our annual meeting has always provided a platform for direct
exchange; the meeting program can and should invite us to assess both
the potential and the limitations inherent in redrawing our boundaries.
Anthropologists have powerful new research tools at our fingertips,
including instant access to each other's work. What we make of such
opportunities to engage wider networks will help to chart the course of
an anthropological presence in the 21st century. We are poised to take
intellectual and professional risks, whether we choose as individuals
and institutions to exploit or reject a unified subfield approach. We
never been better equipped to bring new knowledge to bear on issues of
global concern. The intersections ahead will be dangerous. How we
them will be critical.
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