Definition of AAA Meeting Terms

Board meeting: where section planning takes place, these are only open to that section’s board members, officers and those invited by them.

Business meeting: where a section takes care of its public events. These are open to anyone interested, and it is a good idea to visit a section’s business meeting if that section interests you so you can learn about its activities.

Executive Sessions: are selected and sponsored directly by the AAA Executive Program Committee (EPC). These sessions speak directly to meeting’s theme.

Film session: a screening of a film by anthropologists and of interest to anthropologists; there is no charge for attendance.

Flash Presentations: Flash presentations are a rapid-fire, engaging performance of current projects/concepts via a few image rich slides and dynamic spoken content. Total presentation time is a speedy 5 minutes per presenter. Submissions should present work in progress and/or upcoming projects. They are poetry delivered with a punch. Flash presentation proposals may be submitted as a panel of up to 10-15 presenters, or individually. Accepted individual flash presentations will be combined with others to comprise a panel consisting of five (5) to fifteen (15) presenters. Remaining time will be used for a moderated discussion.

Gallery (formerly Poster) sessions: large, graphic presentations with no formal discussion; visit any posters of interest; dialogue with presenters is encouraged.

Invited session: panels that are sponsored by sections of the AAA to participate in the meeting; anyone can attend these sessions.

Installations: these sessions invite anthropological knowledge off the beaten path of the written conference paper. Like work shared in art venues, presentations selected as part of the AAA Installations program will draw upon and engage meeting attendees in a diverse world of the senses. Presenters may propose performances, recitals, conversations, author-meets-critic roundtables, salon reading workshops, oral history recording sessions, and another alternative, creative forms of intellectual expression for consideration. Selected installations will be curated for off-site exhibition and tied to the official AAA meeting program. Successful proposals will offer attendees an opportunity to learn from a range of vested interests not typically encountered or easily found on the traditional AAA program. Installations are meant to disrupt who and what we tend to see at the AAA Annual Meeting, helping attendees encounter new people and to do different kinds of things at the intersections of anthropological arts, sciences, and cultural expression.

Interest group: a group, usually smaller than section or opting not to become a full section, a less formal than a section, of anthropologists with a particular set of interests, professional or academic.

Paper: a formal, spoken 15-minute presentation, often accompanied by PowerPoint slide show; questions are held until the end of the session.

Public Policy Forums: AAA’s public policy forums provide places to discuss critical social issues affecting anthropology, public policy issues of interest to anthropologists, and public policy issues that could benefit from anthropological knowledge or expertise. They engage panelists (who may or may not be anthropologists) and audience members in a discussion of public policy issues to enhance the application of anthropological knowledge in society at large. Recognizing there are diverse perspectives on panel topics, public policy forums seek to present balanced views to promote dialogue among participants. Ideally, at least, one policymaker will be included in each forum. No papers are presented in public policy forums. The ideal format includes one (1) moderator and no more than seven (7) panelists. Following introductions, the moderator proceeds to pose questions to panelists as a group or  individually. Adequate time should be set aside at the end of each forum for audience participation.

Reception: sponsored events generally open to anyone, often with free refreshments and/or food.

Retrospective Sessions: Retrospective Sessions are intended to highlight career contributions (such as retirement or a significant anniversary) of established leading scholars.

Roundtable: forums to discuss critical social issues affecting anthropology; very participatory with dialogue between the panel and audience.

Salon: a new type of event, a salon focuses on a classic text which a group of anthropologists have decided to re-visit in more detail.

Section: an organization within the AAA, usually centered on an area of anthropological interest or identity, which has a significant membership, a budget, conducts activities throughout the year, hosts events at the annual meetings, and often times publishes an academic journal

Social (cash bar): sponsored by sections, focused on networking and socializing; individuals pay for their own drinks.

Volunteered Panel Sessions: either organized by presenters or assembled from individual proposals; these sessions are subjected to a peer review process; anyone can attend these sessions.

Workshop: hands-on presentations on a given topic; usually require advance registration if not also additional cost.