Governance & Organization

Long-Range Plan

As Amended by the AAA Executive Board, May 4, 2011

The strength of Anthropology lies in its distinctive position at the nexus of the sciences and humanities, its global perspective, its attention to the past and the present, and its commitment to both research and practice. The purpose of the Association shall be to advance scholarly understanding of humankind in all its aspects, and to make that knowledge available to a broader public as appropriate. This includes, but is not limited to the classic research areas of U.S. anthropology --archaeological, biological, ethnological, and linguistic anthropology--  drawing from and building upon knowledge from biological and physical sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences.  It also includes newer groupings and different constellations that bring together many anthropologists sharing vibrant research and practicing domains of activity. The Association promotes the professional interests of anthropologists, including the dissemination of anthropological knowledge among scholars and the broader public and supports the application of scientific and humanistic anthropological knowledge to improve the world in which we live.

To advance anthropology, and through it the understanding of humankind, the Association shall: publish and promote the publication of anthropological journals and monographs; encourage anthropological teaching, research, and practice; maintain effective liaisons with related knowledge disciplines and their organizations; and assist anthropologists to disseminate their research findings to a wider public audience.

To further the professional interests of anthropologists, the Association shall promote the widespread recognition and constant improvement of professional and ethical standards in anthropology.

As the largest organization representing anthropology in all its diversity, the American Anthropological Association is committed to assessing how it can best carry out its mission in changing milieus of research, education, and employment. To honor this commitment, the AAA Executive Board has instituted an ongoing long-range and operational planning process.
This plan is an evolving document that currently outlines objectives for advancing anthropology early in the 21st century. Consistent with the vision outlined below, the Executive Board periodically revises and reassesses these objectives.

The Long-Range Plan entails a vision of the American Anthropological Association that contains four interlocking elements:

  • The American Anthropological Association will support the growth, advancement and application of anthropological science and interpretation through research, publication, and dissemination within a broad range of educational and research institutions as well as to the society at large.
  • The AAA will reinforce and promote the values associated with the acquisition of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation.  This includes a commitment to the AAA Code of Ethics and the AAA Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights.  It also includes a commitment to the importance of diversity in the anthropological profession, both social and intellectual.  And it includes a commitment to the well-being of anthropologists’ human and non-human research subjects.
  • The AAA will remain an organization that enables the development and dissemination of anthropological knowledge.   It is committed to having all of the following work toward this goal: its internal organizational structure; its long-range planning process; its Annual Meetings; its Section-sponsored conferences; its support for the integration of practicing anthropology within the AAA and the discipline at large; its support for a  state-of-the art communications infrastructure; its support for departments of anthropology within colleges, universities, and other research and teaching institutions; and its support for anthropologists otherwise employed in those institutions, other kinds of institutions, and other organizations.
  • In order to achieve the other three elements of this vision, the AAA will develop and maintain the financial resources to carry them out.

1.The AAA will have a publications program that disseminates the most current anthropological research, expertise, and interpretation to its members, the discipline, and the broader society. The American Anthropologist will continue to publish broadly across the fields, subfields, and emerging scholarly communities that constitute anthropology today.

2.The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of research on social and policy issues in the society at large, and respond in a timely fashion when events call for the application of relevant anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation.

3.The AAA will promote quality and effectiveness in the teaching of anthropology and anthropological research at all levels.

4.The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of ethical principles and ethical issues in anthropological research, teaching and practice and promote ethical conduct in anthropologists’ work.

5.The AAA will foster inclusion in the discipline of persons from socially underrepresented categories; advocate improved understanding of diversity, sameness, and difference in society; and promote the equitable treatment of all anthropologists.
   5.1.The AAA will increase the impact and presence of anthropologists by supporting and fostering programs that bring underrepresented sectors of the wider population into the Association and discipline.  It will also commit itself to creating and promoting awareness of the issues facing these groups both in the United States and elsewhere.
   5.2.The AAA will promote a broader understanding of socioeconomic, racial, cultural, gender and sexual diversity in anthropological practice, research, training, and outreach.  It commits itself to a broad sense of social inclusion in its own hiring practices, intellectual work, conference programs, and publishing program.  It understands diversity to include socially constructed categories of class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, language, nationality, national origin, citizenship, caste, descent group, and religion.

6.The AAA will strengthen internal working relationships among its Sections and Committees and the Association Office by effectively communicating its organizational structure, its Long-Range Plan, and its financial and programmatic activities.

7.The AAA will organize the Annual Meeting to meet the following objectives:
   7.1.To provide the broadest possible access to the Annual Meeting to all member constituencies, and to increase participation in the Meeting by students and professionals in community colleges, undergraduate and graduate students in general, anthropologists with Master's degrees (whether or not in doctoral programs),  anthropologists employed outside of academia, and anthropologists normally living and working outside the United States.
  7.2.To serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas; the dissemination of research, expertise, and interpretation within and across sub-disciplines, emerging scholarly communities, and thematic networks; and discussion and debate on key topical and theoretical issues.
  7.3.To provide a venue for informal networking and interaction both within and across sections and interest groups, for all members at all stages of their careers.
  7.4.To promote the professional development of its members.
  7.5.To disseminate information and ideas about the teaching of anthropology.
  7.6.To engage the media and other publics in order to demonstrate both the general relevance of anthropology to the understanding of the human condition and to promote the relevance of anthropological research and perspectives on specific, contemporary ethical, social, cultural and policy issues.

8.The AAA will improve and maintain support for the professional development of practicing anthropologists in all sub-fields and better integrate them into the Association.

9.The AAA will support and work with anthropology departments and programs to develop resources to assist them to meet their objectives.

10.The AAA will expand collegial and organizational collaboration across international and disciplinary boundaries.

11.The AAA will respond to needs for anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation in the wider society by identifying and using effective mechanisms for making such resources available through print, broadcast, online and other media.

12.The AAA will develop and periodically revise its long-term financial plans and goals, including but not limited to its investment policy, its targets for annual fundraising, and the growth and size of the endowment. Financial goals and funding decisions will be based upon articulated objectives and priorities of the Association, the size and diversity of our membership, and costs to members and others consumers of AAA's services.