Thursday, December 16, 2010

AAA Long-Range Plan

The American Anthropological Association was established as a national organization 'to promote the science of anthropology, to stimulate and coordinate the efforts of American anthropologists, to foster local and other societies devoted to anthropology, to serve as a bond among American anthropologists and anthropologic[al] organizations present and prospective, and to publish and encourage the publication of matter pertaining to anthropology'" [Source]

Adopted November 20, 2010

Section 1. The purposes of the Association shall be to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects. This includes, but is not limited to, archaeological, biological, social, cultural, economic, political, historical, medical, visual, and linguistic anthropological research. The Association also commits itself to further the professional interests of anthropologists, including the dissemination of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation.

Section 2. To advance the public understanding of humankind, the Association shall: Publish and promote the publication of anthropological journals and monographs; Encourage anthropological teaching, research, and practice; and maintain effective liaison with related knowledge disciplines and their organizations.

Section3. To further the professional interests of anthropologists, the Association shall promote the widespread recognition and constant improvement of professional standards in anthropology.


As the largest organization representing anthropology in all its diversity, the American Anthropological Association is committed to assessing how it can best carry out its mission in changing milieus of research, education, and employment. To honor this commitment, the AAA Executive Board has instituted an ongoing long-range and operational planning process.

This plan is an ongoing, evolving document that outlines twelve objectives for advancing and disseminating anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation early in the 21st century. Consistent with the vision outlined below, the Executive Board annually revises and reassesses these objectives to determine how the AAA might best advance anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation; clarify its values; create a more effective organization; ensure that its conferences are stimulating, well-organized, and appropriate; and develop financial resources and communication outlets for disseminating anthropological research, pedagogy, and practice to our membership and the broader society.


The mission and the Long-Range Plan entail a vision of the American Anthropological Association that contains three interlocking aspects:

1. The American Anthropological Association will support the growth, advancement and application of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation through research, publication, and dissemination within a broad range of educational and research institutions as well as to the society at large.

2. The AAA will reinforce and promote the values associated with the acquisition of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation. This includes a commitment to the AAA Code of Ethics and the AAA Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights. It also includes a commitment to the importance of diversity in the anthropological profession, both social and intellectual.

3. The AAA will remain an organization that enables the development and dissemination of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation. It is committed to having all of the following work toward this goal: its internal organizational structure; its long-range planning process; its Annual Meetings; its Section-sponsored conferences; its support for the integration of practicing anthropology within the AAA and the discipline at large; its support for a state-of-the art communications infrastructure; its support for departments of anthropology within colleges, universities, and other research and teaching institutions; and its support for anthropologists otherwise employed in those institutions, other kinds of institutions, and other organizations. The AAA will develop and maintain the financial resources to carry out this vision.


1. The AAA will have a publications program that disseminates the most current anthropological research, expertise, and interpretation to its members, the discipline, and the broader society. The American Anthropologist will continue to publish broadly across the fields, subfields, and emerging scholarly communities that constitute anthropology today.

2. The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of research on social and policy issues in the society at large, and respond in a timely fashion when opportunities present themselves to apply relevant anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation.

3. The AAA will promote quality effectiveness and equity in the teaching of anthropology and anthropological perspectives at all levels.

4. The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of ethical principles and ethical issues in anthropological research, teaching and practice.

5. The AAA will foster inclusion of socially minoritized people in the discipline; advocate improved understanding of diversity, sameness, and difference in society; and promote the equitable treatment of all anthropologists.

5.1. The AAA will increase the impact and presence of socially minoritized anthropologists by supporting and fostering programs that bring more underrepresented or less visible sectors of the wider population into the Association and discipline. It will also commit itself to creating and promoting awareness of the issues facing minoritized groups both in the United States and elsewhere.

5.2. The AAA will promote a broader understanding of social diversity in anthropological practice, research, training, and outreach. It commits itself to a broad sense of social inclusion in its own hiring practices, intellectual work, conference programs, and publishing program. It understands diversity to include socially constructed categories of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, disability, class, language, nationality, national origin, citizenship, caste, descent group, and religion.

6. The AAA will strengthen internal working relationships among its Sections and Committees and the Association Office by effectively communicating its organizational structure, its Long-Range Plan, and its financial and programmatic activities.

7. The AAA will organize the Annual Meeting to meet the following objectives:

7.1. To provide the broadest possible access to the Annual Meeting to all member constituencies, and to increase participation in the Meeting by students and professionals in community colleges, undergraduate and graduate students in general, anthropologists with Master's degrees (whether or not in doctoral programs), anthropologists employed outside of academia, and anthropologists normally living and working outside the United States.

7.2. To serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas; the dissemination of research, expertise, and interpretation within and across sub-disciplines, emerging scholarly communities, and thematic networks; and discussion and debate on key topical and theoretical issues.

7.3. To provide a venue for informal networking and interaction both within and across sections and interest groups, for all members at all stages of their careers.

7.4. To promote the professional development of its members.

7.5. To disseminate information and ideas about the teaching of Anthropology.

7.6. To engage the media and other publics in order to demonstrate both the general relevance of Anthropology to the understanding of the human condition and to promote the relevance of anthropological research and perspectives on specific, contemporary ethical, social, cultural and policy issues.

8. The AAA will improve and maintain support for the professional development of practicing anthropologists in all sub-fields and better integrate them into the Association.

9. The AAA will support and work with anthropology departments and programs to develop resources to assist them to meet their objectives.

10. The AAA will expand collegial and organizational collaboration across international and disciplinary boundaries.

11. The AAA will respond to needs for anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation in the wider society by identifying and using effective mechanisms for making such resources available through print, broadcast, online and other media.

12. The AAA will develop and periodically revise its long-term financial plans and goals, including but not limited to its investment policy, its targets for annual fundraising, and the growth and size of the endowment. Financial goals and funding decisions will be based upon articulated objectives and priorities of the Association, the size and diversity of our membership, and costs to members and others consumers of AAA's services.

AAA. 2010. "AAA Long-Range Plan". American Anthropological Association. Posted: November 2010. Available online:

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