Our association might have “American” in its name, but nearly 20 percent of our members live and work outside the United States, and we treasure our collaborations with scholars and professional practitioners all over the world.
At the end of May, we organized an interdisciplinary conference in Johannesburg, Africa in the World, in collaboration with the African Studies Association, the University of Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria, and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute at the University of South Africa, along with our colleagues in the Anthropology Southern Africa network. This was the second in a series of biennial scholarly exchanges on the African continent to celebrate the interdisciplinary connections that shed new light on Africa’s contemporary successes and challenges. The exciting program examined relevant frameworks and practical approaches to the study of Africa’s past, present, and future, drawing on work across the humanities and social sciences. An open access proceedings will be available via AnthroSource soon (the Dakar 2016 proceedings provide a flavor of the wide-ranging scope of scholarship presented).
Later this month, a AAA delegation heads to Florianopolis, Brazil, for the 18th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), World (of) Encounters: The Past, Present and Future of Anthropological Knowledge. We will be appearing on several panels, from cultural heritage preservation to education and advocacy, and taking part in the generative discussions for the newly formed World Anthropological Union (WAU). The WAU has been formed as an organization involving individual anthropologists as well as national and regional anthropology associations and incorporates the IUAES and the World Council of Anthropological Associations, which remain as constituent chambers in a federated organizational structure. While many operational details remain to be worked out, the AAA is committed to the WAU’s success and is pleased to be able to provide its support.
In the past year, we have joined with our colleagues from the Sociedad Mexicana de Antropología to co-organize an international panel about cultural heritage preservation in the United States–Mexico border region. At the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, we joined colleagues from the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts to advance plans for AAA becoming involved in the international symposium, “Why the World Needs Anthropologists,” which is devoted to raising public awareness about anthropology’s important contributions to practical problem solving.
Another concrete way in which we can support international collaborations is through the development of an open access preprint repository that we hope will have an advisory board and a global reach. As currently envisioned, this repository will be available for anthropologists anywhere to upload various file types—conference papers, posters, course syllabi, multimedia—which are free to access. If the conference paper goes on to be accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or a book, the repository will also include the ability to link to the article of record. AAA’s Executive Board authorized this repository to be built for the entire discipline, expanding content and participation well beyond AAA membership to sister organizations, helping to broaden the reach of global anthropology. We are in discussions with a number of prospective partners, inviting advice on conceptual and operational matters that will help the repository live up to its full potential.
There are, of course, important ongoing activities that bring scholars and anthropologists in professional practice to the United States. Most notably, the work originally conceived by the Committee on World Anthropologies continues through the Members’ Programmatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee, and is most visible in Annual Meeting events. Similarly, the Palestine / Israel Fellowship Fund for Travel supports individual exchanges with scholars from that region. We have joined Scholars at Risk, and maintain a rapid response network for human rights and academic freedom.
While we continue with all these activities, we redouble our commitment to being in the world, meeting our international collaborators where you are, on your terms. We are aware of AAA’s history in the anthropology world, and of our responsibility to use our resources to strengthen the global circulation of anthropological knowledge for the benefit of all.
Cite as: Liebow, Ed. 2018. “AAA’s International Collaborations.” Anthropology News website, July 20, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.931