The American Anthropological Association, Essay Example

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Essay

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is the world’s largest association of individuals with interest in anthropology. Founded in 1902, AAA was formed to promote science of anthropology, to enable American anthropologists to collaborate with each other, to support and promote societies devoted to anthropology, and to support research as well as publish the material pertaining to anthropology. Starting with an initial membership of only 175, the association now has over 10,000 members. Annual meetings that span over five days, include over 300 sessions and attract more than 5,000 members. AAA affairs are managed by a 38-member Section Assembly representing each of the Association’s constituent Sections and a 17-member Executive Board (American Anthropological Association (AAA)).

AAA believes that the field of Anthropology draws its strength by combining both sciences and humanities, adopting a global perspective, studying both past and present, and emphasizing both research and practice. This is why AAA is committed to expanding our knowledge of humans in all aspects and making the knowledge available to the general public. AAA supports all research areas of anthropology which are archaeology, biology, and linguistic. The association also provides professional guidance to the anthropologists and advances their common interests. AAA also works to increase academic interest in anthropology and help improve the quality of instruction in the teaching of anthropology. AAA also works towards ensuring a diverse representation of cultural, social, and ethnic groups etc. within the anthropological profession (American Anthropological Association (AAA), 2011).

AAA understands that it needs effective financial management to achieve its goals and raise funding through a wide variety of sources. Membership accounted for 34% of the association’s total revenues in 2010 while annual meeting and publications were the second third largest contributors with a share of 20% and 17%, respectively. The association distributed 35% of its receipts as grants and awards in 2010 (American Anthropological Association).

AAA funds numerous projects to expand public knowledge of anthropological issues. One example is the association’s RACE project which aims to improve the public understanding of race and increase awareness regarding the inaccurate stereotypes. The RACE project has been funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The project takes both a scientific and historical look at human beings to explain how the racial diversity we today enjoy was made possible. Part of the project is a travelling exhibition that has been made possible with the cooperation of Science Museum of Minnesota (American Anthropological Association).

AAA also takes stands on public issues when it believes that the underlying issue may increase or harm the interests of the anthropologist professionals and organizations. A recent example is AAA’s opposition to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s proposal that may expand public access to federally funded peer-reviewed scholarly articles. One of the concerns expressed by AAA was that such a move will deprive the association of library subscription revenues and would cripple its ability to continue publishing its 22 scholarly journals (Lende, 2012). The journals published by AAA include American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Cultural Anthropology, Ethos, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly (JSTOR).

AAA also tries to advance social issues it believes are misunderstood by the larger public. One example of AAA’s stand on social issues was its opposition to President Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization. AAA issued a statement that cultural histories across time prove that societies which accommodate various family types including same-sex partnerships can contribute to stable and humane societies. The Executive Board of AAA opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples (American Anthropological Association, 2004). Similarly, the association has also been vocal in its opposition to a possible U.S. military action against Iran and instead advocates finding a peaceful solution through negotiation (American Anthropological Association, 2007). It’s not a surprise that AAA has also opposed Arizona’s immigration law because the association appreciates cultural and racial diversity and opposes discrimination of any kind (American Anthropological Association, 2010).

AAA also provides information and guidance to candidates interested in anthropological studies and career. It is clear that AAA takes interests in almost everything that has a direct or indirect relationship with the issues studied by the anthropology profession. In addition, the association also works with other organizations to sponsor public education programs and award grants and scholarships. AAA also provides guidance to the public in social and political issues and often provides an educated advice, based on historical lessons. AAA also publishes a wide number of journals that explain the depth and breadth of the anthropology profession and it is no surprise that anthropologist often develop expertise in a number of science and humanities subjects.

References

American Anthropological Association (AAA). (2011, May 4). AAA LONG-RANGE PLAN. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/about/Governance/Long_range_plan.cfm

American Anthropological Association (AAA). (n.d.). About AAA. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/about/

American Anthropological Association. (2004, February 26). Statement on Marriage and the Family. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/issues/policy-advocacy/Statement-on-Marriage-and-the-Family.cfm

American Anthropological Association. (2007, November 30). Statement Against US Military Action in Iran. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/issues/policy-advocacy/Statement-Against-US-Military-Action-in-Iran.cfm

American Anthropological Association. (2010, May 24). Anthropologists Challenge New Arizona Immigration Law. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/issues/press/Arizona-Immigration.cfm

American Anthropological Association. (n.d.). Annual Reports. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.aaanet.org/about/Annual_Reports/upload/AAA-2010-AR.pdf

American Anthropological Association. (n.d.). RACE. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.understandingrace.org/about/overview.html

JSTOR. (n.d.). American Anthropological Association. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=anthro

Lende, D. (2012, January 31). American Anthropological Association Takes Public Stand against Open Access. Retrieved April 30, 2012, from http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2012/01/31/american-anthropological-association-takes-public-stand-against-open-access/

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