ASA November 2010 AN Column

ASA November 2010 AN Column
Paul L. Doughty, Contributing Editor and Secretary

The New Orleans AAA Meeting

The word is that this will be a large gathering of anthropologists on our return to “the big easy,” an old reference to the city that seems inappropriate for this time and context. Apparently we are all ready with a record number of total papers registered. Last time the annual meeting was in New Orleans Polly and I helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of AAA with president Don Brenneis et al and indulged in a faux Mardi Gras festival amidst the traditional paraphernalia and music. There was also a rather unique event at that meeting, an anthropological musical skit with Phil Bock presenting his “Anthro Anthem” about getting a job and hiring practices. I don’t think the CD went gold however.

For those of us who have not returned to this city since 2002 AN has provided us with a list of “must-see” and party places like old times. I’m sure as well, that many will be interested in doing some professional observing in the city recovering from the disaster. One FAQ almost lost among suggested activities concerns visitors who wish to help in some way, besides just by leaving their dollars behind. The state Lt. Governor heads an “official organization that matches volunteer opportunities with volunteers, called Volunteer Louisiana” ( that features a famous quote from Margaret Mead. Nevertheless, there appears to be little that we might due in our spare time during these five days except create an “impact” by our presence as we let “Laissez les bons temps rouler…Let the good times roll.”

The ASA “signature” events: These will again include an excellent session, “Return to the Natives” with 14 participants including, JoAnn Glittenberg, James Sabela, Wayne Dye, Marjorie Schweitzer, Eileen Kane, Anthony Paredes, Alice Kehoe, Susan Kenyon, Maria Cattell, Myrdene Anderson, Barbara Joans, Paul Doughty and JoAllyn Archambault. This is on Thursday morning from 8 to 11:45. Second on the program is the Board, Business and Member Luncheon held from 12 noon to 2pm at the Monteleone Hotel at 214 Royal St. at the edge of the French Quarter, about three blocks from the Sheraton. There we will enjoy a collegial meal and discuss ASA initiatives regarding Senior AAA dues, plans for 2011, and other matters. Consult our website for details. On the ASA website you will also find back editions of this column, our session program, and news of interest from members and other ASA materials.

The ASA Book. Although it was mentioned in the October column, it feels good to highlight it again. The University of Alabama Press will publish EXPANDING AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGY 1945-1980: A GENERATION REFLECTS based on our past sessions. We look forward to seeing it.

Anthropological Notes. This summer, the International Herald Tribune caught my eye with this news: “High in the Himalayas, a marital custom vanishes.” Polyandry almost gone? How will we be able to teach about types of kinship? And then there was this news, also in the IHT, that the “Iroquois side stuck in U.S. limbo over visa dispute.” The Iroquois Confederacy engaged the State Department with its attempts to use Tribal Passports instead of U.S. ones in order to participate in the world lacrosse games. These items of classic anthropological interest were apparently not reported in the major U.S. news media. But wait, in last year’s AAA meeting, not one paper title or abstract referred to “kinship” or “polyandry” or “Iroquois” so maybe these formerly favorite topics have vanished from anthropological interest as well! In Gainesville Florida we experienced the brouhaha surrounding the misadventures of a local cult, the ironically named “Dove Outreach Center,” whose leader Terry Jones made headlines everywhere and inflamed passions in the Muslim world. It is over and nothing happened other than the noise made by the hundreds of media representatives who came, then silently slipped away. Oh yes, in 2009 our AAA program records nothing under the words such as, “revitalization,” movement or religious cult, either.

We encourage all engaged anthropologists “indulging in retirement” to join us again in pursuing those professional activities we enjoy. Although being “retired” is not a criterion for joining ASA, it is well to note that there are over 800 members of AAA who fit that category. If that describes you and if you are involved in anthropology, we would be delighted to welcome you as a member.

Retiree responses to 2009 Annual Meeting evaluation survey
These are tabulations of retiree responses to follow- up survey evaluation of the 2009 Annual Meeting conducted electronically by AAA. Thirty-two (32) respondents identified themselves in the survey questionnaire as “retired,” constituting 23.5% of the 136 who registered at the “Retired” rate for the meeting. Total number of responses to the survey was 931, a response rate of approximately 18%.

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