Long-Range Plan - Connect with AAA
Skip to content
Login Communities Publications Calendar About AAA Contact Join Donate Shop Jobs
A button displaying an image of Zora Neale Hurston
A button displaying an image of Zora Neale Hurston

In This Section

Long-Range Plan

From Our Sponsors
Kendall Hunt Publishing Company. Professors Are Transforming Bio Anthropology With John Kappelman's Virtual Labs. Learn More.

In This Section

AAA Long-Range Plan

revised and approved by the AAA Executive Board November 2016


The strength of Anthropology lies in its distinctive position at the nexus of the sciences and humanities, its global perspective, its attention to the past and the present, and its commitment to both research and practice. The purpose of the Association shall be to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects, through archeological, biological, ethnological, and linguistic research, and to make that knowledge available to stakeholders and a broader public, as appropriate. Anthropological knowledge comprises but is not limited to research in these four traditional subfields, and draws from and builds upon knowledge from biological and physical sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences. It also includes newer groupings and different constellations that bring together many anthropologists sharing vibrant research and practicing domains of activity. The Association promotes the professional interests of anthropologists, including the dissemination of anthropological knowledge among scholars and the broader public, and supports the application of scientific and humanistic anthropological knowledge to help solve human problems and improve the world in which we live.

To advance anthropology, and through it the understanding of humankind, the Association shall: publish and promote the publication of anthropological journals and monographs; encourage anthropological teaching, research, and practice; maintain effective liaisons with related knowledge disciplines and their organizations; foster and support collaborations with communities of study as appropriate, and assist anthropologists to disseminate their research findings to a wider public audience.

The AAA will respond to needs for anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation in the wider society by identifying and using effective mechanisms for making such resources available through print, broadcast, online and other media. To further the professional interests of anthropologists, the Association shall promote the widespread recognition and constant improvement of professional and ethical standards in anthropology.


As the largest organization representing anthropology in all its diversity, the American Anthropological Association is committed to assessing how it can best carry out its mission in changing milieus of research, education, and employment. To honor this commitment, the AAA Executive Board has instituted an ongoing long-range and operational planning process.

This plan is an evolving document that currently outlines objectives for advancing anthropology early in the 21st century. Consistent with the vision outlined below, the Executive Board periodically revises and reassesses these objectives.


The Long-Range Plan entails a vision of the American Anthropological Association that contains four interlocking elements:


  1. The AAA will have a publications program that disseminates the most current anthropological research, expertise, and interpretation to its members, the discipline, and the broader society. The American Anthropologist will continue to publish broadly across the fields, subfields, and emerging scholarly communities that constitute anthropology today.

  2. The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of research on social, scientific and policy issues in the society at large, and respond in a timely fashion when events call for the application of relevant anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation.

  3. The AAA will promote quality and effectiveness in the teaching of anthropology and anthropological research at all levels.

  4. The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of ethical principles and ethical issues in anthropological research, teaching, and practice, and promote ethical conduct in anthropologists’ work.

  5. The AAA will foster inclusion in the discipline of persons from socially underrepresented categories; advocate improved understanding of diversity, sameness, and difference in society; and promote the equitable treatment of all anthropologists.

    5.1.  The AAA will increase the impact and presence of anthropologists by supporting and fostering programs that bring underrepresented sectors of the wider population into  the Association and discipline, and actively seek to recruit persons from underrepresented groups in the growth and governance of the AAA. It will also commit itself to creating and promoting awareness of the issues facing these groups both in the United States and elsewhere.

    5.2.  The AAA will promote a broader understanding of socioeconomic, racial, cultural, gender and sexual diversity in anthropological practice, research, training, and outreach. It commits itself to a broad sense of social inclusion in its own hiring practices, intellectual work, conference programs, and publishing program. It understands diversity to include socially constructed categories of class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, language, nationality, national origin, citizenship, caste, descent group, and religion.

  6. The AAA will strengthen internal working relationships among its Sections and Committees and the Association Office by effectively communicating its organizational structure, its Long-Range Plan, and its financial and programmatic activities, and integrating those activities into the larger whole.

  7. The AAA will organize the Annual Meeting to:

    7.1.  provide the broadest possible access to the Annual Meeting to all member constituencies, and to increase participation in the Meeting by students and professionals in community colleges, undergraduate and graduate students in general, anthropologists with Master's degrees (whether or not in doctoral programs), anthropologists working in professional contexts or otherwise employed outside of academia, and anthropologists normally living and working outside the United States.

    7.2.  serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas; the dissemination of research, expertise, and interpretation within and across sub-disciplines, emerging scholarly communities, and thematic networks; and discussion and debate on key topical and theoretical issues.

    7.3.  provide a venue for informal networking and interaction both within and across sections and interest groups, for all members at all stages of their careers and in all contexts of practice.

    7.4.  promote the professional development of its members.

    7.5.  disseminate information and ideas about the teaching of anthropology.

    7.6.  engage the media and other publics in order to demonstrate both the general relevance of anthropology to the understanding of the human condition and to promote the relevance of anthropological research and perspectives on specific, contemporary ethical, social, cultural and policy issues.

  8. The AAA will continue support for the career development of professional, applied, and practicing anthropologists in all sub-fields, and encourage the development of a vibrant professional practice sector. AAA will focus on the integration of professional, applied and practicing anthropologists into the life and leadership of the AAA.

  9. The AAA will support and work with anthropology departments and programs to develop resources to help them meet their objectives.

    9.1 The AAA will work with academic departments to understand, document and address the needs of contingent, NTT, adjunct faculty, and graduate instructors, and the changing demands placed on academic departments.

  10. The AAA will expand collegial and organizational collaboration across international and disciplinary boundaries.

  11. The AAA will increase the relevance of the Association to anthropologists in their daily work, and their perception of the value of the Association to their personal success and professional identity.

  12. The AAA will develop and periodically revise its long-term financial plans and goals, including but not limited to its investment policy, its targets for annual fundraising, and the growth and size of the endowment. Financial goals and funding decisions will be based upon articulated objectives and priorities of the Association, the size and diversity of our membership, and costs to members and others consumers of AAA's services.

You Might Also Like