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AAA Annual Meeting Highlighted Events

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Sessions are subject to change or cancel. An up-to-date list of Annual Meeting sessions will be available in the Annual Meeting Virtual Platform.

Wednesday, November 9

Medical Anthropologists Remember Dr. Paul Farmer

Presidential Session
4:30 PM to 6:15 PM
SCC Ballroom 6B | Livestreamed

On 21 February 2022, the Society for Medical Anthropology lost one of its most renowned and courageous members, Dr. Paul Farmer. His books, including AIDS and Accusation, Infections and Inequalities, Pathologies of Power, and Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History, used deep and sensitive ethnography to inspire commitment to analyzing and disrupting the structural forces that produce lethal health inequities and the ideological violence required to make them seem inevitable. A leading infectious disease physician, Dr. Farmer was the co-founder of Partners in Health and established clinics dedicated to providing the quality care needed to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola, and other health problems in low-income areas in Haiti, Latin America, Africa, the United States, and beyond. His publications, teaching, lectures, and media appearances inspired not only anthropologists and students of medicine and public health but activists, practitioners, journalists, and many others. Beyond the specific areas where he built clinics and hospitals, practiced medicine, and helped transform health systems, Dr. Farmer’s demand that the poor receive the same quality care as the rich and his recognition that improving health requires social transformation rather than short-term, biomedicalized, technological interventions had a major impact on health policies, practices, and conditions worldwide.

Even as he increased awareness of medical anthropology and its contributions to scholarship and practice, Dr. Farmer pushed us to produce critical and transformative work that stands in solidarity with efforts to craft more equitable and just futures. This session expresses the Society’s commitment to honor Dr. Farmer and to recognize his legacy. The goal is to look substantively at how his writings helped shape directions in medical anthropology, medicine, public health, and other fields and to chart collaboratively new ways of sustaining his vision that confronting glaring health inequities is a first step toward achieving justice in health.

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Keynote Address by Antone Minthorn and Colin Fogarty

Plenary Session
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
SCC Ballroom 6E | Livestreamed

Antone Minthorn, founding board chair of The Confluence Project and former chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Colin Fogarty, the Confluence’s current executive director and a veteran public radio journalist, will deliver the Keynote Address on Wednesday, November 9. The Confluence Project is a community-supported nonprofit that connects the public to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices.

Photo of Antone Minthorn speaking into a microphone
Antone Minthorn
Photo of Colin Fogarty standing in front of a scenic lake and mountain backdrop
Colin Fogarty

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Thursday, November 10

Anthropology & Climate Change: Settling the Landscape

2:00 PM to 3:45 PM
SCC Ballroom 6E | Livestreamed

Climate change is among the most significant problems facing humanity. It is a threat multiplier acting to exacerbate already existing problems in coupled social, cultural, political, economic, and ecological systems across the globe. The compounding effects of sea level rise, drought, increased frequency and intensity of storms, rising temperatures, and maladaptive adaptation and mitigation solutions disrupt and transform our everyday lives in myriad, unequal ways. Climate change is effectively “unsettling our landscapes.” Anthropologists are at the forefront of climate-related research with their contributions to contextualizing local place-based and global investigations of humans and human behavior. Anthropologists have actively engaged with climate change research and education in order to better understand and address its relation with cultures, societies, the natural environment, and non-human groups, as well as the ways in which they all intersect with each other across scales (e.g. Barnes and Dove 2015; Crate and Nuttall 2016; Hoffman, Erikson, and Mendes 2022). The AAA Climate Change Task Force (Fiske et al., 2014) further highlighted the diversity of ways in which anthropologists have assessed the interconnected dimensions of climate change and worked to build solutions that benefit humans and non-humans alike. Anthropology arguably plays a vital role in informing more just and equitable clumsy solutions, processes, and policies to the wicked problem of climate change through a broad understanding of diverse knowledges, sciences, and alternative solutions.

In this roundtable, we continue discussing the ways in which anthropologists engage in the human-climate nexus, and address how our work can effectively contribute to “(re)settling the landscape.” We invite scholars and practitioners from all four subfields of anthropology whose work focuses on the human dimensions of climate change to participate in this roundtable to share their insights and address the following questions: What interventions have anthropologists made in the climate change discourse? In what ways has ethnography informed climate policy or governance? Through what strategies has the anthropology of climate change contributed to the adaptability and resilience of communities being challenged by climate change? How can anthropologists advance the goals of climate justice? What roles can anthropologists play to ensure that future generations of humans and non-humans live in a more just, equitable, and sustainable world, safer from the perils of climate change?

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Unsettling Interdisciplinary Contexts in Health Care

6:30 PM to 8:15 PM
SCC Ballroom 6C | Livestreamed

Anthropologists in the United States have been working in non-academic and/or interdisciplinary spaces for nearly as long as the discipline has existed. Despite a disciplinary emphasis on research conducted by faculty in college and university Anthropology Departments, much of contemporary anthropological research is being conducted by those without “anthropologist” in their job titles. This research is increasingly acknowledged as anthropology.

Practicing and applied anthropologists have demonstrated the strength that a holistic lens can lend to interdisciplinary research, and how collaboration can enhance the reach and impact of anthropological analysis. While anthropologists use their cornerstone methods in this work (e.g. ethnography), they may also employ the language, methods, and strategies of other fields. In order to embrace the expertise we offer, anthropologists must identify the role, methodological praxis, and the individual disciplinary contribution we make to the interdisciplinary team.

In this roundtable discussion, we examine the ways in which the anthropological perspective broadens the research scope of interdisciplinary teams, and how anthropologists’ engagement in interdisciplinary contexts unsettle the discipline’s expectations. As a roundtable discussion sponsored by Research in U.S. Health and Health Care, this session will invite participants to consider their roles in reinforcing and transforming health care systems, institutions, and intellectual landscapes. Participants will consider the following questions, among others: What does anthropology bring to interdisciplinary health research and programming? How does anthropology, as a discipline, embrace its inherent interdisciplinarity? What are the methodological challenges to collaborating in health research labeled by institutional entities as “implementation science” or “health services research”?

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Friday, November 11

NAPA/AAA Careers Expo

11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Curious about careers in Professional, Practicing, and Applied Anthropology? Then join the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) for the 18th Annual Careers Expo on Friday, November 11 from 11am to 4pm in the Seattle Convention Center Room 4A adjacent to the Exhibit Hall. Meet with Career Guides from across industries for lively conversations about how anthropological training positively impacts the public and private sectors. Learn from established professionals and get your questions answered about best practices for putting anthropological skills to work. Networking is encouraged, so get ready to practice your elevator pitches with a friendly audience. Students, academic and applied mentors, and career changers welcome!

Sponsored by NAPA and AAA

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Anthropology and Entrepreneurship Research – The State of the Practice

Kauffman Symposium
2:00 PM to 3:45 PM
SCC Ballroom 6C | Livestreamed

The Third Annual Symposium on Anthropology and Entrepreneurship features five presentations highlighting promising research by anthropologists on entrepreneurship. The Symposium features research on Nigerian water entrepreneurs, small business resilience in Italy, Muslim women entrepreneurs in India, a Detroit-based Tech Incubator, and Mexican migrant community leaders in New York. This research has direct practical application in business and entrepreneurship and that addresses solutions to pressing environmental, economic and social problems. Among the research areas of particular interest are: (1) entrepreneurial behavior and the social, cultural, and economic institutions that facilitate the emergence and ongoing support of such behavior; (2) innovative approaches to entrepreneurship training and development; (3) partnerships and financial instruments that support new enterprises; and (4) innovative approaches to enterprises that explicitly aim to serve public interests and/or urgent social needs.

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AAA Annual Business Meeting

Plenary Session
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
SCC Ballroom 6E | Livestreamed

The Business Meeting provides an opportunity for AAA members to present resolutions or make motions for consideration and potential adoption by the Association. Resolutions are written statements of position or action, typically dealing with matters of substance and/or complexity. The meeting also provides an opportunity to hear reports from the President, Officers, and different Committee Chairs on actions the association has discussed during the previous year. The AAA by-laws require that a quorum of 250 members in good standing be present to transact official business at the Meeting.

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Saturday, November 12

Practice Day

On Saturday, November 12 at the Annual Meeting in Seattle, we present Practice Day, a full day of programming designed by and for anthropologists who work in business, government and nonprofit settings. The day will feature specially curated workshops, facilitated discussion on key problems of practice, networking opportunities, and a keynote from Tracey Lovejoy of Lovejoy Consulting, former UX manager at Microsoft and co-founder of EPIC. Events are open to all in-person Annual Meeting attendees, including weekend registrants. Come join us! 

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Translating Anthropological Knowledge to Practice in Medical Education: Strategies for Effective (Workshop)

8:00 AM to 9:45 AM
SCC 612

This workshop is designed for anthropologists engaged in medicine and other health profession education who wish to develop frameworks and concrete learning strategies for more effective teaching by translating theoretical and ethnographic knowledge into clinical contexts. 

Prior registration for this workshop is required. 

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Connecting Ethnographic Methods, Culture, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Work in Organizations (Workshop)

10:15 AM to 12:00 PM
SCC 612

As conducting cultural assessments has become a critical aspect of organizations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies, understanding organizational culture is increasingly an important component of DEI work. During this session, students and potential jobseekers will be provided with illustrative case studies and led through hands-on activities that seek to hone their ability to apply ethnographic theory and methods to cultural assessment and DEI work in organizations.

Prior registration for this workshop is required. 

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Practice Day Keynote Address by Tracey Lovejoy

2:00 PM to 3:45 PM
SCC 612

The heart of applied anthropology is positive change. Tracey Lovejoy has studied changemakers around the globe, and by far her favorite changemakers are anthropologists because their training makes them uniquely qualified to create change. In fact, due to their training Tracey believes that researchers wear the magical ruby slippers that gives them super powers as changemakers. In this session Tracey will share her journey as a corporate anthropologist and supporter of Catalysts, as well as tools she uses to teach others to maximize their positive impact. As this is a day dedicated to practice, you will walk away with practical skills will immediately make you more effective in your work, including a clear vision of the change you’d like to make, and a map of those most important to help you achieve it.

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Practice Day Affinity Groups

4:15 PM to 6:00 PM
SCC 611, 612, 613/614

Affinity groups will provide an opportunity to discuss particular contexts of practice or areas of interest in professional anthropology. Specific topics will be chosen collectively by the people in attendance. The discussion guide for each topic will be, 1) What is the state of the art? 2) What problems of practice are we facing? 3) What does the future hold?

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Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Ana Celia Zentella

Plenary Session
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
SCC Ballroom 6E | Livestreamed

Our conference “Unsettling Landscapes” theme brought to mind a sad joke. When José finally secures a perch atop the flagpole after having been denied a seat in all sections of the stadium, he is touched when the huge crowd stands, looking up at him and singing: José can you see. Viewing the landscape from the point of view of those who have been denied basic rights but are thankful for any indication that their needs are of concern to the deniers, reminds me of the immigrants who work tirelessly in bad conditions for little pay, but are grateful for cast-off clothes or food. They and their communities are viewed as unsettled: illegal, uneducated, dangerous, unworthy, and in need of control. They in turn may view the landscapes of the powerful as settled and worthy of being in control. Clearly, whether a landscape is settled or unsettled depends on who’s looking.

Part of anthropology’s mission is accounting for why social/cultural/linguistic landscapes might appear settled to some when they really are not, or vice versa. My experiences and research, beginning in the South Bronx and other working-class New York and Philadelphia communities and more recently in affluent southern California counties, reveal the role that language, particularly distinct varieties of Spanish and English, plays in obscuring or unmasking our views of unsettling landscapes. Increasing acts of violence against speakers of varied languages across the USA who are viewed as out of place/ unsettled demand our attention and response; I build upon the work of generations of scholars in linguistic anthropology who have concerned themselves with these issues by centering politics in what I refer to as anthropolitical linguistics. How can an anthropolitical linguistic approach counter linguistic intolerance and promote social justice?

Professional photo of Dr. Ana Celia Zentalla

Dr. Ana Celia Zentella, a Puerto Rican / Mexican linguist known for her “anthropolitical” approach to linguistic research, will deliver the Distinguished Lecture: José Can You See?: A Nuyorican View of Unsettling Landscapes, at the 2022 AAA Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA, November 9-13. Her lecture will address the role that language, particularly distinct varieties of Spanish and English, plays in obscuring or unmasking our views of unsettling landscapes.

Dr. Zentella is an expert on multilingualism, linguistic diversity, and language intolerance, especially in relation to U.S. Latinx languages and communities. Her book, Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York, won the Book Prize of the British Association of Applied Linguistics and the Book Award of the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists of the American Anthropological Association. Manhattan’s Borough President Ruth Messinger declared October 30, 1997 “Doctor Ana Celia Zentella Day” for “her leading role in building appreciation for language diversity and respect for language rights.” The Society for Linguistic Anthropology honored her with its Public Outreach & Community Service award in 2016. In 2014, she was named Public Intellectual of the Year by the Latino Studies section / LASA.

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Date and Time TBD

Anthropologists Go Back to School

To better connect the Annual Meeting with its host city, the AAA promotes Anthropologists Go Back to School, an initiative in which meeting attendees introduce elementary, middle, and high school learners to the discipline of anthropology.

Since 2013, the program has offered age-appropriate, interactive activities that highlight all four fields. Its primary goal is to reach out to schools with high concentrations of students of color and students who will be among the first in their families to attend college. Presenters highlight the incredible contributions that anthropologists make to social justice and how anthropology can be an avenue to social change and a potential career path.

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