In the wake of the controversy over the American Anthropological Association dropping the word “science” from its long-range plan, I have created a wiki where we all can take part in discussing and editing the Long Term Plan. I am hopeful that this approach can lead to a more inclusive and representative AAA Long-Range Plan.
Here is the introduction as it now stands:
This wiki aims to crowd-source the creation of a long-range plan for the American Anthropological Association that is more inclusive and representative of all its members.
This wiki was established because of concerns over the recent removal of all mention of “science” from the AAA’s Long-Range Plan, in particular the opening section on “Mission.” As the world’s largest anthropology association, and one that includes members from all sub-disciplines in anthropology, this Mission is more than a vision for the AAA. It is also a vision for the future of anthropology.
Alongside concerns over anthropology as bridging both science and humanities, discussion emerged over new wording “to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects” and the loss of the phrase of “anthropological knowledge and its use to solve human problems” and what these changes represent for applied anthropology and other forms of practice inside and outside the discipline.
The changes in the long-range plan were drafted in committee, sent to AAA section heads for review, and then voted on by the AAA executive board. This wiki hopes to create a more open discussion and review of this long-range plan and its vision for anthropology.
I included different pages for each part of the plan – Mission, Long-Range Plan, Vision, and Objectives – as well as pages for discussion of the history, main discussion points, and documents related to the long-range plan and the controversy that has arisen in the past week.
Besides the specifics of the actual plan, I hope this wiki can be one place where we do some of what Rex at Savage Minds just called for in his post, Ethnography as a Solution to #AAAfail.
What if, as an alternative, we started a grassroots movement to say, in a public and synthesizable way, what we thought anthropology was about? An anthropologist’s creed, as it were. They would have to be short, a paragraph each, and address (hopefully in the same order) a concrete number of issues: what the word ‘science’ means to them, what disciplines are adjacent to anthropology, what research methods are important, the role of the analyst, the appropriateness of politics involvement, and so forth.
If you want to take part, please check out the American Anthropological Association Long Range Plan Wiki.
If you want more information on the whole controversy, please see my earlier post, Anthropology, Science and Public Understanding, where I summarize some main issues I see arising with the new plan, provide coverage of many of the early reactions to the controversy, and include a long list of links to continued reactions at the end.