Presidential Incentive Program for Undergraduates Unveiled: Striving to Be Who We Are and Who We Want to Be

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<ul><li><p>15</p><p>December 2010 |A S S O C I A T I O N B U S I N E S S</p><p>Learn more about the new </p><p>Undergraduate </p><p>Membership </p><p>category at</p><p></p><p>A S S O C I A T I O N B U S I N E S S</p><p>F R O M T H E P R E S I D E N T</p><p>Virginia R Dominguez AAA President</p><p>In this issue, I announce a special Presidential Incentive Program meant to draw the youngest members of </p><p>our profession into our midst. It is a personal commitment I am making to subsidize new under-graduate members in AAA and help them become involved across the many Sections. It is simul-taneously a way of encouraging AAA Sections to include under-graduate members (and de facto recently graduated undergrad-</p><p>uate members) in their activities and planning. Since students are undergraduates until the day they officially graduate, many of our new undergraduate members will be senior anthropology majors and their AAA member-ship will include many months into their post-baccalau-reate and graduate school life.</p><p>I am looking toward our future and at the energy and excitement that our newest members can bring to anthropology as a profession and as a way of being in the world. Many of our undergraduate students will eventu-ally earn at least one graduate degree. Others will work in the world informed deeply by their undergraduate training. Those of us who teach at this level know how enriching it can be to teach anthropology majors and minors. That they discover anthropology through our training and passion energizes us as well.</p><p>Let us welcome them with enthusiasm to our asso-ciation. The leadership of our National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA) has been terrific to work with. They are welcoming new undergraduate members and look forward to figuring out more activi-ties and services with them in mind. Please know that the deal for undergraduate members includes member-ship in NASA. But I would really like our newest members of the profession to experience other AAA </p><p>Sections as well, as they too already have special topical or geographic interests. My hope is that all Sections will find new undergraduate members choosing to join them in addition to being members of NASA.</p><p>To help this happen quickly and widely I am hereby announcing that I am making a donation to the AAA to provide a $10 subsidy on a one-time basis to the first 500 new undergraduate members in AAA who join between December 1, 2010, and November 30, 2011, and wish to add a second or third Section to their member-ship. At the moment, 20 of our 38 Sections offer student membership for $10 or less. Many new AAA under-graduate members will, thereby, be able to join a topical, geographic, or specialty area of interest to them for free in their first year of AAA membership. Others may be able to join two Sections. And still others will be able to join a Section at a seriously discounted rate because of this Presidential subsidy.</p><p>All of this stems from questions of who we are, who we might believe we are, and who we might want to be, both as an association and as a profession. In recent years there has been much thinking about the fact that over half of the people with graduate degrees in anthro-pology work outside institutions of higher education. This is true in Europe as well as in the US, according to my sources. AAA has spent time and energy thinking about what it means to the profession and the asso-ciation to have so many anthropologists doing many things besides teaching. AAAs National Association of Practicing Anthropologists (NAPA) and AAAs still new Committee on Practicing, Applied, and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA) keep the spotlight on these issues, including how many practicing, applied or public interest anthropologists see themselves first and foremost as anthropologists and are, or ought to be, active members of AAA. Their presence and contri-bution to our profession seem crucial to our future, not just our present. Yet it seems many of them are not AAA members. If this is so, does AAA represent part of the profession but not a sizable enough part? And </p><p>shouldnt we be the place in which all anthropologists in the US find a home, professional base and network of likeminded colleagues?</p><p>We may not quite be what people think in other ways as well. At the beginning of this month I asked our membership department some questions about our non-US-based membership. I sought information beyond the number of people who are members of AAA under our International A or International B categories of membership. The result was astounding, even to me. It turns out that many of our colleagues normally living and working outside the US join AAA under other categories. We have retired, joint, lifetime, student, associate and professional members who live and work outside the US. In fact, AAA has just about as many of those combined as it does International A and International B members altogether. Indeed, as of early October 2010, almost 1,900 AAA members live and work outside the US. This amounts to close to 20% of our current overall membership. </p><p>Do we pay enough attention to them? Do they vote in our elections or choose not to, as a friend in Europe who has been a member of AAA for decades told me recently about his own practice? Do too many of my Presidential Columns, Section News columns, and overall features of AN de facto exclude them? If roughly one of every five members of our association has to deal with institutional, financial, governmental, linguistic, social, physical and historical matters other than those we experience every day in the US itself, how should AAA address that? </p><p>Clearly many anthropologists around the world, including the US, think AAA membership is worth-while, but what kind of a mix are we really, and is it as inclusive a mix as we would like? Tracking what our youngest members think, do and wantboth under-graduate and graduate student members, in the US and outside the USshould help. But perhaps enjoying their presence among us, listening to them and helping them make the most of the profession will help even more. </p><p>Presidential Incentive Program for Undergraduates UnveiledStriving to Be Who We Are and Who We Want to Be</p><p>Listen to President Dominguezs Online Interview Series</p><p>Inside the Presidents Studio is an interview series conducted by AAA President Virginia Dominguez with </p><p>anthropologists about their ideas, research and passions. Conversations with Agustin Fuentes, Jeremy </p><p>Sabloff, Nandini Sundar and more are available online. Listen to them then join the conversation on the </p><p>AAA blog at</p><p></p></li></ul>