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AAA Annual Meeting/Abstracts FAQs

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Graphic promoting the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting. Text reads, CALL FOR PAPERS, Deadline Friday, May 21, 2021, 3 PM Eastern time. The words, Truth and Responsibility, are placed within a minimalistic design of pencil with various symbol outlines drawn on the pencil tip. At the bottom, text reads,

In This Section

General Questions

  • I am submitting a proposal. Do I and my session participants need to be AAA members?

In order to participate in the Annual Meeting you must be both an active AAA member and an Annual Meeting registrant (you must have paid a meeting registration fee).

View AAA Participation Rules and Policies. >>

  • 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. Green Registration rates are moderately reduced from the regular registration rates.

  • How many roles can I hold at the Annual Meeting?
  • An individual is allowed to present one major role PLUS one secondary role per meeting.
  • There are no limits on minor roles.
  • It is expected that the individual will allow their name to be added to the program only in accordance with these limitations. Individuals initiating proposals will be required to withdraw presenters that exceed these limits.

Read more about the various roles and the major/minor criteria for each. >>

CFP—Individual Papers

  • Is there a limit to the length of my abstract?

Yes - Overall session abstracts have a maximum limit of 500 words (50 word minimum). Individual abstracts have a maximum limit of 250 words (50 word minimum). 

The session types that allow individual abstracts are:

  • oral presentation sessions,
  • individually-volunteered papers,
  • group gallery sessions,
  • individual gallery sessions, and
  • group flash presentations.

Individual abstracts allow for the recognition of co-authors (an "in name only" role that does NOT identify them as co-presenters). Please do not include the name(s) of co-authors or references in the abstract.

  • My individual abstract is part of a session - how do I link my paper to a session?

You must wait for the person you've identified as the point of contact for your submission (the person responsible for beginning the session in the portal and submitting the completed session) to trigger an email from the submission site that requests this and other information. The email will come from and will have the following subject line:  Action Requested_ Tasks for AAA 2018 Submission.

Do not login from the main website or create a new session in the portal. You must wait for the notification email, as the email will contain a link for you to access the submission as a session participant.

  • What is a co-author?

A co-author is any individual who helped you work on the abstract or someone that you would like to recognize in creation of your submission. A co-author is an "in name only" role in which they are not presenting in any capacity in that specific session. Because it is a non-presenting role, they are not held to the same registration or membership requirements as presenters or session participants (organizers, chairs, discussants, etc.). Co-authors are listed in the final program with the corresponding abstract, but they are not identified as presenters or listed in the indices of the final printed program.

Any session type that allows for individual abstracts (oral presentation, individually volunteered paper, group gallery session, individual gallery session, or group flash presentations) may include co-authors.


  • are listed in name only;
  • are not co-presenters;
  • are not required to register for the Annual Meeting or be active AAA members (but must be meeting registrants if they wish to attend the Annual Meeting or the session);
  • are listed in the final program with the corresponding abstract, but not identified as presenters or co-presenters;
  • are not listed in the indices of the final program or searchable with presenters.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What will happen to my unregistered session participants if they do not register before 3 pm Eastern on April 16?

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. To remain on the submission, all participants MUST be registered for the Annual Meeting and active AAA members by 3:00 pm Eastern on Monday, April 16, no exceptions.

  • 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?

You can enter your participant's name, paper title, and abstract. However it is advisable that you ask the participants to add in their own information. Once you enter the participant's name, you may choose to notify your presenter who will then receive an email to update their presentation details. AAA is not responsible for titled papers that are mistakenly entered by the organizers, accepted sessions will not have the opportunity to update titles.

  • 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 16, 2018 at 3pm ET.


  • Is a secondary role available in roundtables?

Yes!  Roundtables have one secondary role, the introduction.

  • 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 presenter. Other roles available in a roundtable are discussion and breaks.

  • Are roundtables guaranteed a spot in the program?

No, roundtables follow the same review process as paper sessions.

  • How many slots are in a roundtable?

Roundtable sessions have 7 slots.

Special Events

  • What are special events?

The following are examples of special events:

  • Section business meetings
  • Section board meetings
  • Section-sponsored receptions
  • Committee business meetings
  • Interest group business meetings
  • Interest group-sponsored receptions
  • Organizing events
  • Special events that are not sponsored by sections, committees, or interest groups (such as alumni networking/graduate receptions for collegiate departments of anthropology)**

All special events must be submitted in the online submission portal. 

The special event submission period is from April 17 until 3 pm Eastern on May 31.


**Groups that are not affiliated with AAA (non AAA sections, committees, or interest groups) will be required to pay a $500 special event fee. This fee covers publication in the official programs, room rental and administrative costs.


  • 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?

To avoid conflicts with scientific sessions, most special events are limited to 1.25 hours, cannot be scheduled in overlapping times with the AAA Annual Business Meeting, and are subject to space available basis. 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.

Programming FAQs

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • My submission was accepted and scheduled. Am I able to edit the title, abstract, or participants?

Proposals that are submitted by the deadline (3 pm Eastern on April 16) are final and are submitted in print-ready condition. Changes to titles, abstracts, participants, or participant roles are not permitted.

  • My submission 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 Executive Program Committee or the Section Program Chairs. 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.

  • 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).

Site Selection FAQs

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

AAA will not meet in Georgia due to its 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 to be considered.

  • How are AAA 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 Associations, with major holidays, and end-of-semester schedules, the AAA traditionally meets either during the two weeks before or one week after Thanksgiving.

  • 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 to 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.

  • How does booking outside the block affect me?

If AAA is unable to achieve its room block commitments because attendees make reservations at other hotels, or at other accommodation options (such as apartments), or cancel/shorten their length of stay at the AAA hotels, then our overall room night performance is hurt. Further, at any one hotel we have performance obligations to meet the room block contracted. Depending on how small or large the gap is between the room commitment and the actual room pickup, such penalties range from $20,000 to more than $200,000. Should this happen, AAA could be forced to increase registration and exhibitor fees to cover these expenses and cut back on services provided at the event or by way of membership benefits. 

  • 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 the 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.

  • 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, AAA institutes the following in its site selection.


1. AAA is responsible for negotiating and administering meeting venue contracts show preference to meeting facilities whose staff are represented by a union.

2. AAA is responsible for negotiating and administering Annual Meeting contracts 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.

  • 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 approximate $175,000.

  • 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.

  • 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 site selection to the U.S., and sometimes Canada. 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. The Annual Meeting attendance has gotten too large to be contained to a single-property venue (such as: Marriott Wardman Park in DC, Chicago Hilton, or San Francisco Marriott Marquis), thus leaving only convention center bids to be viable options.

  • Why is it important to stay within the AAA contracted room block?

“Booking Outside the Block” (booking a hotel not listed in the AAA Housing options, or booking a hotel room at one of the listed hotels but not through the official AAA housing page) impacts association revenue both directly, through attrition fees charged to AAA for unused pre-contracted rooms, and indirectly through the loss of negotiation leverage for meeting space, dates and rates in subsequent years. Guaranteeing room blocks gives associations the opportunity to negotiate concessions, such as better room rates, free Internet, number of meeting rooms, affiliate meeting space, gym access, etc. Housing is a key component in how this leverage is measured, and ‘Booking Outside the Block’ decreases the association’s negotiating power–ultimately making the meeting more expensive. None of us wants to see higher attendance costs.