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#AnthroDay 2018

Marketing and Communications Manager

At the close of our fourth annual Anthropology Day celebration, it is clear that the discipline is filled with enthusiastic ambassadors keen to share all that is amazing about our field. Our 2018 celebration saw a record 259 officially registered groups with 32 international registrants joining from 14 countries.

What excites us most about Anthropology Day each year is the incredible diversity in the way that groups choose to celebrate the event, and 2018 was no different.

AAA staff teamed up with representatives from Archaeology in the Community, the Society for American Archaeology, National Geographic, Montgomery College, the George Washington University, and the National Museum of Natural History to spend the day visiting local schools and conducting virtual presentations to a total of 355 elementary and middle school students. Many of our registered groups followed suit, taking their celebrations into their communities. Northern Kentucky University hosted their event at a local library, the Rhode Island College Anthropology Department did activities with the children at their campus childcare center, and Lehigh University anthropologists held a trivia event for students at a local high school.

East Carolina University celebrated for their fourth consecutive year by holding an “Anthropology after Dark” event, which featured a lecture, laboratory and artifact exhibits, Andean music, and an Egyptian tomb brought to life. Minnesota State University, Mankato’s department also held an open house, including a donation drive to benefit ECHO Food Shelf, a program of lectures, faculty-led department tours, and prize raffles.

The University of North Texas and the University of South Florida both chose to highlight the varied careers available to anthropology majors through their Applied Anthropology Expo and Anthropology in Action events. The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University hosted a photo booth where museum visitors and employees could showcase their love of anthropology.

Normandale Community College; SUNY Oswego; the University of Sindh Jamshoro, Pakistan; Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey; the University of Manipur, India; and dozens of other groups marked the day with film screening events, guest lectures, games, snacks, and other festivities. Georgia Southern University’s department of sociology and anthropology expanded their program to celebrate a full “Anthropology Week” with lectures, film events, and photo opportunities spread across multiple days.

Anthropology Day celebrations are as diverse as the field and the Association extends our most sincere gratitude to all the people who participated in events at their schools or workplaces and shared their love of anthropology using #AnthroDay on social media. Continue sharing why anthropology matters with people in your communities by registering for the next celebration at

You can find a complete list of activity suggestions on the AAA website at


Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation

JASON DE LEÓN, 2018 Executive Program Chair

This past November in San José, California, 5,744 attendees gathered for our 117th Annual Meeting. These conference goers (from 68 countries) participated in 1,103 sessions, panels and roundtables and 195 special events (including workshops, film screenings, and installations) all across the city.

Attendees came together to discuss a range of anthropological issues including the ways in which our species is responding to our current moment of great global crisis. We discussed how we will tackle human-induced climate change, environmental degradation, mass migration and displacement, political instability, and an astronomical growth in economic and social inequalities. We did all of this while dealing firsthand with smoke from the 2018 California wildfire season, the deadliest and most destructive on record for the state. Those fires were a timely reminder that our anthropological insight into fighting climate change is more crucial than ever.

In San José, we also came together in solidarity to examine the increasing way in which we find ourselves defending against those who push back against the often challenging findings about human behavior and social relations that result when we put the anthropological lens to work. In the face of opposition to anthropological calls for equality, cultural understanding, scientific awareness, and accountability, there is perhaps no better time to focus not just on social change, but also on understanding the forces that impede it.

The opening keynote address was delivered by world-renowned labor activist Dolores Huerta. She gave a fiery and inspired lecture on labor rights and political mobilization in this current moment. This talk was well-received by the large turnout and topically overlapped well with the many sessions focused on Latinx populations and issues of migration.

We saw a concerted effort by many at the meetings to increase our public profile as a discipline including intense discussions around what it means to do “public anthropology” in 2018, which built on the 2017 Meeting theme of “Anthropology Matters.” This topic was the focus of numerous panels including the Executive Sessions “Reinventing Anthropology and the University: Public and Engaged Anthropology” and “Resistance to Public Writing.” We were lucky to also welcome George Lucas, one of the most well-known figures in popular media, to the meetings to discuss the relationship between his blockbuster films and anthropology in front of a live audience.

We interrogated our own discipline through important sessions such as “Sexual Violence in Anthropology” and “#MeToo in Archaeology” and I hope the difficult conversations generated by these panels will continue into the future at our meetings.

This Meeting also saw an especially high number of sessions on the themes of borders, mobility, and human rights indicating that our discipline is at the global forefront of addressing the global humanitarian migration crisis that the world is currently experiencing. It was especially moving to see (and hear from) so many undergraduate and graduate students from California who are working on this issue locally and globally.

We examined the blurring lines between subdisciplines and the way in which students are pushing us toward new and more inclusive forms of interdisciplinary research that are more timely, innovative, sensitive to different approaches, and focused on raising the voices of those who have often been ignored or at the margins in our discipline.

In addition to the regular sessions, we had a robust showing of films (including the annual film festival) and workshops hosted/co-sponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology at the offsite Hammer Theater.

In general, this was an active and highly diverse meeting that took seriously the thematic call of resistance and resilience across the world and across subdisciplines. The excitement around the meeting theme was palpable and contagious and I personally left San José inspired after seeing such a diverse range of energetic anthropological research tackling the most pressing issues of our time. The 2019 Meeting, a historic collaboration between AAA and CASCA, features the theme “Changing Climates: Struggle, Collaboration, and Justice//Changer d’air : Lutte, collaboration et justice,” will offer us another opportunity to come together and see the many ways that anthropology can be a positive force for social, cultural, and environmental change, as well as helping to increase global empathy and understanding.


2019 Calendar

February 6
Executive Session
Proposal Submission Deadline
February 21
Anthropology Day
February 28 – March 2
Society for Economic Anthropology Conference in Orlando, FL

March 14 – 16
Joint Conference: American Ethnological Society, Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, Association of Black Anthropologists in St. Louis, MO
March 28 – 30
Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Conference in Portland, OR
March 4 – 6
Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Conference in Sana Ana Pueblo, NM

April 10
Proposal Deadline For All 2019 Annual Meeting Abstract Submissions
April 11 – 13
Central States Anthropological Society Conference in Memphis, TN

May 2 – 4
Joint Conference: Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology and Society for Anthropology of North America in San Jose, PR
May 15
Special Event Proposal Submission Deadline

August 31
AAA Photo Contest Submission Deadline

September 11
Late-Breaking Session Proposal Submission Deadline

November 20-24
118th AAA Annual Meeting

Annual Meetings