The Commission for the Ethical Treatment of Human Remains (TCETHR) - Participate & Advocate
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In This Section

The Commission for the Ethical Treatment of Human Remains (TCETHR)

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In This Section

Committee Charge

Objectives

We hear an urgent call across the field of anthropology for institutional and professional accountability related to human remains in research collections, with special attention to standards and guidelines concerning the respectful care for graves, grave goods, and for osteological remains and genetic material of deceased African Americans and Native Americans that are housed in research collections at museums and academic institutions. The AAA Executive Board has established a two-year commission that will coordinate with work that is contemplated or underway in sister societies; complete a comprehensive survey of the current status of legislative, policy, and professional society standards and guidelines, as well as the ethical, legal, social, and scientific issues involved in eliminating the gap between the current status and model standards of institutional and professional accountability; and develop a proposed model of standards for adoption by the AAA.

Duration of Committee

24 months beginning December 2021

Committee Reports to

AAA Executive Board

Responsibilities

Membership and Appointment

Michael L. Blakey (cochair), National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies, and American Studies, Director of the Institute for Historical Biology, College of William & Mary.

Deborah A. Thomas (cochair), R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania

Sabrina C. Agarwal, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Thomas H. Champney, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy in the Department of Cell Biology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.

Carlina de la Cova, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina.

Debra L. Martin, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Kisha Supernant, Director, Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, Codirector of the Situated Knowledges: Indigenous Peoples and Place (SKIPP) Signature Area, and Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta.

Rachel Watkins, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at American University.

Terrance Weik, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina.

Ezra Chan (assistant), Student at the University of Pennsylvania.

Natalie Konopinski (AAA staff liaison), Editor of Anthropology News at the American Anthropological Association.

Product

Report of findings and proposed model standards provided to the Executive Board by the November 2023 Executive Board meeting.

Meetings and Schedule

Monthly virtual meetings and as others as needed.

One in-person workshop, with extramural funding support from NSF.

One in-person meeting in Arlington in Summer, 2023 to review draft report.

Staff Liaison

Natalie Konopinski (AAA staff liaison), Editor of Anthropology News at the American Anthropological Association.

Contact Information

American Anthropological Association, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1301, Arlington, VA 22201, phone (703) 528-1902, Fax: (703) 528-3546


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