SACC Goes to the 2018 AAA Meetings!

As many of us prepare to travel to the 117th AAA Annual Meeting in San José, California, it seems appropriate to use this month’s section news to get us thinking about the meeting’s themes of resistance, resilience, and adaptation. The aim of these themes is to encourage us to reimagine our anthropological focus within a world beset by tremendous change.

The meeting site in San José, with its long history of change and adaptation, is an ideal one for such an effort. The Muwekma Ohlone were the original inhabitants of what is now San José. They lived as hunter-gathers who, after the arrival of the Spanish, switched to an agrarian lifestyle. In 1777, El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe was settled as the first pueblo town not associated with a mission, and in 1850, the pueblo was incorporated as California’s first city, the city of San José. From 1849-1850, San José served as the soon-to-be state of California’s capital. The traditional use of cinnabar by the Ohlone as a red pigment was later introduced to the Spanish, who recognized it as a source of mercury (quicksilver) that was critical in the extraction of gold from ore. This recognition led to mercury being mined at the New Almaden Mine, which today is the oldest and most productive mercury mine in the country. From the 1870s to the 1930s, the city was the fruit canning and packing capital of the world, and, in 1938, became the birthplace of Del Monte’s new product, the fruit cocktail. Then, fast forward fifty years to 1988, when as part of a publicity campaign, officials assigned the city the title “capital of Silicon Valley.” The name apparently stuck and today the Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is located in San José City Hall, and San José is one of the metro areas with the highest number of patents per capita.

The history of San José is rich with examples of resistance, like the Bay Resistance, an organization working to counter the ongoing imbalance in national politics; resilience, where the Ohlone have persisted and remain today a vital force in the region; and adaptation, where the region has moved from supporting human populations with native plants and animals to today where technology is king and, apparently, so is the Eggo waffle! In this setting, SACC will once again offer the ever popular classic presentations on the “Five Fields Update: Getting the Message Across” and “I Love It When You…”

SACC organizer Eric Rodkey (Casper College) invites you to attend the “Five Fields Update: Getting the Message Across” on Thursday, November 15 at 4:15 p.m. The speakers include Sandra Hollimon (Santa Rosa Junior College) who will discuss Bioarchaeology’s Messages: Methods and Meanings, K. Elizabeth Soluri (Cabrillo College) who will offer her ideas in “Teaching Anthropology in 2018 and Beyond,” and Debra Bolter (Modesto Junior College) who will introduce “Headlines Over the Past Year: New and Old in Biological Anthropology.” Following those updates will be a discussion led by Evin Rodkey and John Ziker (Boise State University). The “Five Fields Update” presentations are typically rich with meaningful information that offers practicing and applied anthropologists, teachers of anthropology at community colleges and beyond, and students a rich array of fresh thoughts and insights on topics critical to the discipline.

Karen Muir (Columbus State Community College) encourages you to attend  on Saturday, November 17th from 2:00–3:45, the “I Love It When You…” The speakers include Janni Pedersen (Ashford University) who will share with attendees “Techniques for Creating Engagement in the Online Discussion Forum,” Lara Lloyd (Mesa Community College) who will give insights on “Teaching Anthropological Ethics through Active Learning,” Kerensa Allison (Lewis Clark State College) who will use a South American field site in “Intersecting Cultures through Place-Based Learning in Ecuador,” Amanda Wolcott Paskey (Cosumnes River College), Alannah Chapman (California State University), and James Miller Jr. (Cosumnes River College) will address Part 1 of Issues Beyond the Display Case: Engaging Public Anthropology for a Changing World, and Anastasia Panagakos” (Cosumnes River College) and Nikoletta Karapanos (Cosumnes River College) will further the discussion with Part 2 on that same topic. Following these “I love it When You…” presentations, Anastasia Panagakos and Amanda Wolcott Paskey both of Cosumnes River College will lead a discussion on the role each of these presentations plays in effectively teaching anthropology at community colleges.

Sadly, I will miss this year’s meeting and the many takeaways the SACC presentations consistently provide attendees. For me, though, as I finished writing a book this summer, I frequently think back to last year’s “Five Fields Update” when Steven Nash talked about anthropology’s relevance challenge and how his “best seller” sold a total of 400 copies. His comments have kept me grounded throughout my own writing process.

And lastly, I want to congratulate Laura Gonzalez for being named the 2018 AAA/Oxford University Press Award Recipient for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Well done, Laura!

Barbara Jones, PhD teaches anthropology at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. Her research focus addresses issues of ecotourism and notions of wilderness.

Cite as: Jones, Barbara. 2018. “SACC Goes to the 2018 AAA Meetings!” Anthropology News website, November 7, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1025

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