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Annual Meeting FAQs

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Here is a list of the frequently asked questions that AAA receives on the categories of general information, session programming and scheduling, and our site selection. If you have other questions that you would like addressed on this page, please send the question to


Call for Papers FAQ’s

Individual Papers



Special Events





Call for Papers FAQ’s

Do you have to be a member to submit a proposal to the annual meetings?
In order to participate in the 2016 Annual Meeting you must be an active AAA member who has paid the 2016 meeting registration fee.
Non-anthropologists and anthropologists from outside of the US and Canada are eligible to receive a membership exemption, but must pay the non-member registration fee to submit an abstract, proposal or participate in the Annual Meeting Program. You must apply for the membership exemption and receive approval or denial prior to submitting your proposal. You should submit your membership exemption request well before the April 15 deadline in order to receive a decision and have time to submit your proposal. No proposals will be accepted after April 15, regardless of circumstance.

Do you need to register to submit my proposal to the annual meeting?
Yes, all participants must register before a proposal is submitted.

What is green Registration?
AAA is offering a Green Registration type in all registration categories. By registering at the Green Registration type you'll lessen AAA's impact on the environment by NOT receiving a printed copy of the program. Instead, you'll be able to take advantage of the program downloaded in e-reader format, the Annual Meeting Mobile App (for Apple and Android devices) as well as the online program scheduler. The most up-to-date program information is always located online.  Green Registration rates are moderately reduced from the regular registration rates.

How many roles can I hold at the meeting?
Participants may only: 1) present one paper/poster or serve as a participant on roundtable or Installation and 2) accept no more than one secondary role (discussant in a paper session or Introduction in roundtable)  An individual may serve as chair or organizer of an unlimited number of sessions.

Individual Papers

Is there a limit to the length of my abstract?
Yes. Paper and poster abstracts have a 250 word limit. Do not include name of coauthors or references in the abstract.

My paper is part of a session, how do I link my paper to a session?
Ask your session organizer to add your name to the session; this will link your paper to the session.

I have an individual paper, how do I find a session for my paper?
Session organizers needing additional papers will post call for papers on the section listserves. If you are unable to find a session for your paper submit your abstract and section program chairs will make sessions out of individually volunteered papers during the review period.

My co-author is not in the database what do I do?
If your co-author is not attending the annual meeting ask your co-author to create an AnthroGateway account. This will add them to the database and allow the presenting author to add them as a co-author.


What do I need to submit my session?
To submit a session you will need the title of your session, estimated attendance, session abstract, keywords, names and role of all your participants. All session submissions are restricted to 1 hour and 45 minutes or 105 minutes.

Is there a limit to the length of my abstract?
Session abstracts can be up to 500 words. Please do not include session participant names or references in your session abstract.

How long are sessions?
All sessions are no more than 1 hour and 45 minutes or 105 minutes. Sessions have 7 fifteen minute slots all of which need to be assigned to a person or discussion period.

What roles does my paper session require?
Paper sessions require at least one organizer, one chair, and 7 additional roles. The 7 roles can include paper presenters, discussants, and discussion periods.

How do I add paper co-authors?
Session organizers are not able to add co-authors. The paper submitter must add co-authors in their submission. However you can see all authors by clicking on view submission on the left menu bar of your submission.

One of my participants shows as she has not registered, what will happen to her submission if she does not register before April 15?
Participants that have not met the requirements (registration and membership or membership exemption) will be removed from the session and replaced with a discussion period. The session will proceed to review without the ineligible participants.

The submission site tells me that one of my participants is not eligible but my session participant has a payment receipt- what is causing the error?
There are two eligibility requirements for proposal submission. 1) AAA Membership or membership exemption (available for scholars from other disciplines or for anthropologist from other countries other than the US or Canada). 2) Registration. If the two requirements are not met participants will show as not eligible.

How do I enter my participant's paper to my session?
In step 4 of the session submission process add their name to the session as a presenter, next to their name click on TBD.  This will open a window that will allow you to enter their proposal. 

What does invited status mean?
Invited sessions are not subject to review and are guaranteed to be scheduled in the program. Participants of invited sessions are bound to all other meeting rules and policies. Invited status is awarded to sessions during the review period (April 16-June 1)

I plan to add presenters during the summer, is this possible?
No, all changes need to be made by April 15.


What is a roundtable?
A roundtable does not have any papers and does not have any time structure for each participant.

What roles are required for a roundtable?
Each roundtable must have an organizer, chair and presenters (at least two).

Are roundtables guaranteed a spot in the program?
No, roundtables follow the same review process as paper sessions.

What is the maximum amount of presenters in a roundtable?
Roundtable sessions can have up to 7 presenters.

Is a secondary role available in roundtables?
Yes!  Roundtables have one secondary role, the introduction.


Special Events

What are special events?
Special Events are business, committee, board meetings, and receptions. These events are scheduled as part of the special events program and are the responsibility of the executive office.

Does a special event count against my two roles?
No. Special events do not count against your participation in the scholarly program.

When are special events scheduled?
With the exception of board and committee meetings special events are scheduled:
Thursday 12:15-1:30pm and after 6:15pm
Friday and Saturday 12:15-1:30pm and after 7:45pm
Any group not affiliated with AAA (i.e. Sections, Interest Groups, Committees) will be required to pay a $500 special event fee. This fee covers publication in the official programs, room rental and administrative costs.



How was the program selected and put together?

The Executive Program Committee comprises of the current program chair, the program chair-elect, and the local host representative. The committee has discipline-specific subcommittees to review proposed sessions and papers during May and June. Acceptances go out in July, and then all of the sessions are scheduled and the program is made available online sometime in August.

Why was my session scheduled at the same time as other sessions on similar topics? Can't this be avoided?

The AAA Annual Meeting has between 800-900 sessions, held over five days, so conflicts are inevitable. Sessions are scheduled to avoid thematic, section, and person conflicts (a participant cannot chair one session and present a paper at another session, if both are held at the same time).

My paper was accepted and scheduled; can I still edit the title or the abstract?

Proposals that are submitted on April 15 are final and are submitted in print ready condition.

My paper was not accepted; what are my options and how do I figure out why it was not accepted?

Unfortunately rejection from the Annual Meeting program is a final decision, one not taken lightly by the EPC or the Sectional Reviewers. Your submission was fully reviewed by the section you selected to evaluate your proposal. The EPC and AAA staff are unable to consider appeals or provide individual feedback. We encourage you to join the discourse as an attendee of the Annual Meeting.

How do audio-visual requests work? Why must I bring my own computer?

Most conference hotels hire the services of a separate company to provide audio-visual services. The company's representatives set up the equipment and remain on call to troubleshoot. Their fees are based on a given number of rooms for a given number of days. If we ask for equipment in a room and use it for just one session, we still must pay for the whole day.

The standard setup is for a projector and screen or presentation-size monitor, plus the basic connecting cables. Adding computers would raise the equipment fees enormously, and we would have no guarantee that the kind of computer provided would have the software version that you need.

Most audio/visual companies keep a few spare converters for Macs on hand, but these pieces of equipment change over time; if you bring your own, you can be sure that it will work.



Why don't we meet in smaller cities with lower hotel rates?

Several factors go into our choice of cities.

1. We try to vary the North American regions in which we meet. We try to rotate between East Coast, Midwest/Central States, and West Coast in an effort to have the best reach to our members who are located across the country.

2. We need a major airline destination. Many AAA members travel from college towns served by regional airports; some travel from outside North America. A destination served only by a regional airport means several flight changes and adds significantly to the price of an airline ticket for many members.

3. AAA is a large annual meeting. Washington, DC in 2014 had more than 6,000 in attendance; Chicago in 2013 had more than 6,500. Only large conference hotels or convention centers in major cities have the facilities we need. We have outgrown the facilities in many cities where we met in past years.

What are the criteria that go into site selection for the AAA annual meetings and section meetings, aside from affordability and ability to accommodate the meeting?

1.AAA staff responsible for negotiating and administering meeting venue contracts shall "strongly prefer" meeting facilities whose staff are represented by a union.

2.AAA staff responsible for negotiating and administering annual meeting contracts shall show preference to locales with living wage ordinances.

3.AAA values giving preference to accommodation suppliers that have active and ongoing sustainability programs and policies.

Are there any cities/states that AAA will not meet?

AAA will not meet in Arizona and Georgia due to their stance on anti-immigration. In addition, we have a strong preference for holding our meetings in facilities that are staffed by unionized workers, places where there are no union-staffed facilities are not be considered.

How are annual meeting dates chosen?

Approximate dates of annual meetings have become traditional and well-established for many learned societies. Such conferences have distributed themselves throughout the academic year, so that scholars may attend more than one according to their professional needs. To avoid conflicts with other societies (e.g., American Political Science Association and American Sociological Association), with major holidays, and end-of-semester schedules, the AAA traditionally meets either during the two weeks before or one week after Thanksgiving.

Is AAA in contact with other learned societies to share conference planning information?

Yes, the American Council of Learned Societies supports conference planning for its member organizations. Their fall meeting for Executive Directors devotes considerable attention to conference and annual meeting needs. ACLS maintains discussion boards (Executive Directors and Meetings Departments) as well, so that the experiences and concerns of one group can be shared and addressed by all.

How are conference hotels chosen?

To ensure the best deal for our members, we work with a conference planning service, ConferenceDirect.  ConferenceDirect helps us approach host cities and hotels, and prepare invitations to bid for our conference business. ConferenceDirect is one of the larger conference management companies in the country. It maintains a considerable negotiating advantage compared to what AAA could get on its own to secure the best rate for AAA attendees. This process begins six to seven years in advance, to guarantee the dates we need and ensure the best rates possible. A ConferenceDirect staff member is on call throughout the conference itself. A number of other learned societies also use ConferenceDirect for their conference planning.

Why do other societies like the APSA and ASA sometimes get better rates for the same hotel used by AAA?

Hotel rates are set when the contract is signed with the hotel, often five-ten years in advance. Rates vary by season. APSA and ASA receive low hotel rates because they meet at a time of year (around Labor Day weekend) when hotels sit empty otherwise.

Can't AAA book a budget hotel too, to provide a choice?

We try to arrange for several hotels with a range of room prices. The room prices are subject to negotiation as part of an overall package that also includes a number of complimentary or steeply discounted meeting rooms, food and beverage services, A/V services, Wi-Fi, and exhibition support. We must guarantee the hotels that we will fill a minimum number of sleeping rooms. If our members don't fill that block of rooms, AAA must pay the difference (attrition) directly to the hotel.We do our best to make rooms available at a range of prices Our contract always includes a clause that our members will receive the lowest rate available at conference time. Staying in the conference hotel is thus not only the most convenient choice for AAA members; it also supports AAA and the meeting itself.

What goes into a hotel contract?

When we make an agreement with a hotel, we promise to use a given number of sleeping rooms, and to spend a minimum amount for our welcome reception and other catered functions. In return, they offer us a discounted rate on the sleeping rooms, and the use of meeting rooms for our sessions and exhibits hall.

Major hotels also offer excellent audio-visual service and support, but even though we restrict our services to projectors/screens (and audio when needed), this service is expensive; the bill for the 2014 AAA Annual Meeting was approximately $175,000.

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