New Program Changes

The AAA Meetings & Conferences Department is pleased to announce a broad range of changes to the Annual Meeting. These changes will enhance the Annual Meeting experience and better meet the needs of our members and attendees. This page details each change and the rationale behind it.


In 2012 the Executive Board (EB) appointed an Annual Meeting Audit Task Force. The charge of the task force included: (1) an in-depth review of current  policies and practices of the annual meeting, and (2) the identification of areas of improvement. The task force report was received by the AAA Executive Board in May 2013. An EB sub-group then carefully reviewed the findings and recommendations. In late 2013, the EB adopted a series of changes to policies, program features and activities related to the AAA Annual Meeting were implemented by AAA staff during the 2014/2015 period.The following changes began for the 2014 annual meeting held in Washington, DC December 3-7.

New Session Types

1.Retrospective sessions
Objective: To add a specific session type that recognizes  the career contributions of established leading scholars (for example on the  occasion of their retirement or significant anniversary). This session type  will be part of the normal scholarly program and may be submitted by any  individual and sponsored by any sponsoring entity.
Rationale: Such sessions have in the past usually been submitted as Executive or Invited Sessions. Creating a new session type allows  us to recognize the distinct nature of such panels (or other events) in a way which also allows other session types to better achieve their objectives.

2.Annual opening plenary session
Objective: To institutionalize an opening plenary session  to highlight the meeting theme and specific goals.
Rationale: The opening plenary session will act as an official kick-off event on the first night of the annual meeting, placing greater emphasis on the early days of the meeting, generally helping to set the  tone, and allowing for common discussion across areas of interest and  expertise.

3.Permanent inclusion of Installations
Objective: To officially institutionalize a category of event (variously called "inno-vents", "salons" and other) which offers non-traditional ways of expressing and producing anthropological  knowledge.
Rationale: This session type was introduced in 2010 on an  experimental basis. It has proven popular (in 2010 11 proposals were submitted;  in 2013, 38 proposals were submitted), so the EB subgroup agreed with the Task Force recommendation that it should be a permanent part of the program.
Read more about session types at the Annual Meeting.

Session and Participation Transformations

1.Elimination of double sessions
Objective: To standardize the time unit for panels and  other events to address scheduling burdens.
Rationale: Sponsoring entities have often historically  proposed double sessions. Because it is necessary to schedule them sequentially  and ideally one half right after the other, they are given an unfair advantage  during the scheduling process, regardless of their ranking, in order to  accommodate their needs. As a result of AAA's growing meeting and concern for meeting  space, the task force recommended that only single sessions be proposed during  the submission period. While organizers may include a series of sessions in  parts (i.e. Part I, Part II) it will be understood that each individual session  will be reviewed and ranked by its merit. Part II may be accepted while Part I  may not. The Executive Program Committee (EPC) will make every effort to ensure  that accepted in-part series are scheduled in proper order, but cannot guarantee this.

2.Allocation of 1 invited session to the World Council of Anthropological  Associations (WCAA )
Objective: To facilitate collaboration with sister  anthropological organizations around the world.
Rationale: As a founding member of the WCAA, the AAA should allocate space on its program to showcase world anthropologies as a growing aspect of the discipline.

3.Unified submission deadline of April 15 for all invited, volunteered and  installation sessions, as well as individual volunteered papers and posters
Objective: To streamline and better communicate the  submissions process for membership, section program editors and the EPC; to  give section program editors more control over the selection of invited sessions.
Rationale:If all panels are submitted at the same time as volunteered sessions, section program editors will have the opportunity to  review a complete pool of candidate sessions for invited status. This move should increase the quality and range of invited sessions on the final program.  By moving to a single deadline, we make the process of submitting proposals to the AAA easier to understand and to communicate.

4.Chair role no longer counts against the 1+1 role rule
Objective: To facilitate session organization without overly constraining member roles.
Rationale: The EB agrees that any individual member should not figure too prominently on the program in speaking roles. However, the chair  role does not entail a major substantive contribution, and chairs may potentially attract audiences.
Read more about session types at the Annual Meeting.
Read more about presenting policies and roles at the Annual Meeting.

Other Aspects of the Meeting

1.Fuller engagement with social media
a.) Introduce E-Posters
b.) Create alternative media centers
c.) Create a Speakers' Corner
d.) Create opportunities for live-streaming presentations to/from the  meeting
Rationale: AAA wants to expand its influence in social media and offer people opportunities to interact with the annual meeting globally or with those who are unable to travel to the host city. By taking a proactive stance with social media and various forms of virtual communication we can enhance the opportunities for scholarly exchange for our members.

2.Provision of internet access to the all of AAA's meeting spaces.
Objective: To facilitate connectivity
Rationale: To increase our use of social media initiatives and to enhance presentations and communications on-site, AAA must commit to  providing the resources to cover the costs associated with wireless Internet throughout the meeting.

3.Officially expand the Executive Program Committee (EPC) to approximately  10 members
Objective: To ensure that the EPC is large enough to represent diverse fields of anthropology.
Rationale: The EPC has in fact been composed of about 10 members for the last four or five years, and this size has worked well to achieve the above objectives.

2015 Important Dates



January 15

Online abstract submission system opens for executive sessions only

February 17

Deadline for executive session proposals online here

February 18

Online abstract submission system opens for all proposal types

March 18

Decisions on executive sessions announced

April 15

Proposal deadline for all sessions, individual paper and poster presentations here. To be included in the 2015 AAA Annual Meeting program, participants must be registered by this date.

April 16–May 31

Section program editors review and rank proposals

May 31

Proposal deadline for Special Events program

June 1–15

AAA Executive Program Committee schedules program

July 1–15

Program decisions emailed to applicants
Annual Meeting Program, registration and hotel information are posted online

November 18-22

2015 AAA Annual Meeting in Denver


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