Monday, June 30, 2008

Congress Increases Funding for NIH & NSF

On June 26, the Senate overwhelmingly approved to increase support for science in an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill. The measure included $150 million for the National Institutes of Health, $62.5 million for the National Science Foundation and additional funding for the Department of Energy, NASA, and the FDA.

While this increase is still below that levels proposed in the original Senate version of the bill, it is a promising show of support for scientific research and education.

Please show your appreciation to the Representatives and Senators who approved this measure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anthropology Graces YouTube

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article yesterday about how Kansas State University anthropologist, Michael Wesch, and his students are using video blogs to highlight the impact that Web 2.0 technologies can have on human interaction. He also gave a talk at the Library of Congress on Monday detailing the importance of social media. Wesch has become somewhat of a YouTube star, with his most popular video, “A Vision of Students Today,” receiving close to 2.4 million hits. His videos are available on YouTube and at

Michael Wesch: Toward and ethnography of YouTube (PBS)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MIT Does Anthropology

MIT Video Productions has created an online video called “Doing Anthropology,” in an effort to promote public understanding about cultural anthropology and ethnographic fieldwork. The video can be viewed on the AAA website or at MIT TechTV.

AAA “Pulse of the Planet” Series on CounterPunch

Scholars from the “Pulse of the Planet” session at AAA’s 2008 annual meeting are turning their conference papers into op-ed columns that will be published between May and the middle of November in CounterPunch, an online news magazine. The articles aim to reshape public debate during the presidential race and draw attention to critical issues in human rights and environmental policy. Read the first op-ed, “Dam Legacies, Damned Futures,” by Barbara Rose Johnston, and leave comments on the article below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Minerva Ignores AAA Concerns

The Pentagon issued a call for research proposals for the Minerva Project, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today. Although there is no mention of coordinating with the NSF, the Pentagon has said, "The Minerva program is likely to be closely coordinated with the National Science Foundation."

The AAA previously issued a response to the proposed Minerva Project, in which it expressed concerns about the very same review process that the Pentagon describes in its announcement. The Association will continue to urge the Pentagon to coordinate with agencies (NSF, NIH, NEH) that have extensive experience in peer-review and are familiar with the rigorous standards of our discipline.

Pentagon kicks off social science consortium (Wired's Danger Room Blog)
AAA Responds to Proposed Minerva Consortium (AAA Public Affairs Blog)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

RACE Project on NPR

Dr. Yolanda Moses, vice provost for diversity and conflict resolution and professor of anthropology at the University of California at Riverside, was featured on NPR's News & Notes today to detail AAA's "Race - Are we so Different?" Project.

Helping Kids Understand Racial Differences (part 1)
What is Race? (part 2)
RACE Project

RACE Blog Ranked as Top Civil Liberty Blog

The RACE Project's blog was listed as one of the top 100 civil liberty advocacy blogs by Criminal Justice Degrees Guide. The RACE blog details the experiences of race and racism in America. Please feel free to visit the RACE blog and leave a comment on one of the posts.

Researchers Fail to Disclose Funding Sources

Inside Higher Ed and the NY Times reported that Senator Charles Grassley, a critic of the pharmaceutical industry’s potential to skew research, released evidence that child psychiatrists at Harvard University failed to disclose income received from drug companies over the past eight years. Their failure to disclose this income has many questioning the validity of their research, which has been used to support the use of antipsychotic drugs for bipolar children. Grassley has introduced legislation, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to report all contributions made to medical doctors.

The AAA strongly urges all anthropologists to follow the Association’s code of ethics in order to avoid such conflicts of interest and fulfill ethical obligations to the people and communities studied: “In both proposing and carrying out research, anthropological researchers must be open about the purpose(s), potential impacts, and source(s) of support for research projects with funders, colleagues, persons studied or providing information, and with relevant parties affected by the research.”

Thursday, June 05, 2008

AAA's Decision to Hold the 2010 Annual Meetings in New Orleans

Many of our readers received an email detailing the rationale behind the decision to hold the 2010 AAA annual meeting in New Orleans. Excerpts from this memo can be found below. We encourage readers to express their opinions regarding this decision in the comments section at the end of this post.
In 2005, when the AAA membership was asked to vote to establish AAA policies on meeting sites, in regard to unionized facilities, a minority of AAA members voted to make this a requirement for all meetings. We thus understand that some AAA members would themselves have not acted as the Executive Board did in June 2007, in selecting New Orleans as a meeting site for 2010. But the decision to select New Orleans was in accord with the policy established by the majority of the membership, was judged to be very attractive in terms of the goals we have for our annual meeting, and was judged to fulfill the Association’s goal of being a socially responsible non-profit organization, in the context of post-Katrina America.

AAA’s contracts with all annual meeting hotels have penalty clauses if they are broken by the AAA without cause, as that is defined in the contracts. Were the AAA to change its mind about the 2010 meeting site, because of the relative lack of union facilities, this would be the case and the AAA would be required to pay penalties of $449,908. Costs for the 2010 Annual Meeting would then rise greatly. Projecting 2010 meeting registration at 5,100 (the number of paid registrations at 2002 New Orleans Annual Meeting), individual meeting registration fees will rise by $88 for each attendee at the 2010 Annual Meeting. In our judgment, such an additional amount added on the top of regular registration fees would likely disenfranchise a large segment of AAA’s membership (especially students and recently hired faculty) from the possibility of attending the 2010 Annual Meeting.

Because of its concern about this issue, the Executive Board has initiated an effort to develop contracts for additional sleeping rooms with hotels in New Orleans that are located within walking distance of our meeting location and whose employees are represented by a union. We are pleased to report that this effort has achieved modest success. As a supplement to the original proposal for the 2010 meeting in New Orleans, the choices of hotels in New Orleans will now include a block of rooms at Loews New Orleans Hotel, which is represented by a union (specifically by UNITE HERE and which is on UNITE HERE’s “recommended list.”). There is one other unionized hotel that is within walking distance of our meeting site in New Orleans (the Fairmont), but because it is undergoing a change in management, that hotel is not accepting any contracts for our 2010 dates at this time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

MSNBC Borrows AAA's RACE Timeline

MSNBC has taken an interest in AAA’s award-winning RACE Project. The project’s timeline of race in U.S. history is currently featured on MSNBC’s website as part of a series on race and ethnicity called “Gut Check America: The Colors of Change.”

The series explores the growing number of multiracial individuals, couples and families living in America and the issues they face. The series includes stories, a video gallery, a discussion platform, and an interactive state-by-state map, in addition to the RACE Project’s historical timeline.

The RACE Project’s timeline charts the history of race relations over the past four hundred years, from the establishment of the first slave codes in colonial Virginia to recent debates on affirmative action and racial profiling. The timeline was prepared for the RACE Project’s interactive website and is viewable at

To view the MSNBC series, “Gut Check America: The Colors of Change,” go to

Monday, June 02, 2008

Culture Matters Responds to Coverage of 'Uncontacted Tribe'

Culture Matters is leading an interesting discussion on the media's reporting of an 'uncontacted tribe' that was recently photographed in the Amazon.

Feel free to chime in at the end of their post.

Call for Applications: Sustainability Education Fellows

AAA is a participating member of the Disciplinary Associations’ Network for Sustainability. This network catalyzes education for sustainable development. From the famous 1987 Brundtland Commission, the most common definition of sustainable development is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Education for sustainable development was defined at the sustainable development world summit as “enabling people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions…, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.” Sustainability is about creating healthy ecosystems, healthy communities and healthy economies.

Contribute to a sustainable future at the national level! Apply to be a DANS Sustainability Education Fellow. As a Fellow, you will be an important part of the national trend toward sustainability in higher education. You will spend 4-5 hours each week working with your professional association and other related disciplinary and higher education associations, helping them collect and share quality sustainability information with their members. Fellows will serve as mentors to others doing sustainability work on college campuses. Their role is to nurture, connect, assist and inspire the very important but often challenging work being done by disconnected individuals across the country. The vital role played by the Fellows is crucial to continuing the momentum for education for a sustainable future.

If you are interested in serving as a DANS Sustainability Education Fellow, please consider submitting an application. Application review will begin August 1 for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Fellows will be encouraged to:
•Improve the collection and dissemination of sustainability related information,
•Promote collaborations on sustainability education and practices, and
•Develop training and pedagogical support for future fellows.

You can apply to be a Sustainability Education Fellow by sending an email to Steve Muzzy ( Steve will send you an application with more information. [DANS (] is helping coordinate the fellows program and will be connecting the fellows across associations to create a collaborative higher education effort across academic disciplines.]