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December 22, 2020

While 2020 has been anything but “business as usual,” we have remained steadfast in our commitment to advance the field of anthropology. Thank you for all that you have helped the AAA accomplish in 2020.  Here are just a few highlights from the past year at the American Anthropological Association.


AAA issued 20 statements and 66 letters of support both independently and in collaboration with our sister organizations on topics such as race relations, human rights, academic freedom, and climate change. 

Public Outreach

We added 5 additional podcast collaborators to the AAA Podcast library.

On Anthropology day, 385 groups registered from 19 countries, including over 300 departments of anthropology, 30 community colleges, 40 K-12 schools, and 30 business/museums planned activities to celebrate the discipline.

The Anthropologists Go Back to School initiative, held virtually in conjunction with Raising Our Voices, had 16 volunteers register to help introduce the discipline to K-12 students.

Meetings & Professional Development

We cancelled our annual meeting for the first time in the Association’s history. Instead, filled with a sense of experimentation and community engagement, we staged the fall virtual event series, Raising Our Voices, which enjoyed more than 2,000 registered attendees, engaging conversational formats, and helped us build a library of recorded material for our members’ view-on-demand use, incorporating universal design with accessibility in mind.

Three summer interns joined us virtually and lent their talents to our partners at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Naval History & Heritage Command. Thank you to the members who continue to donate and make the summer internship program possible.

Education & Research

This year the Education, Research, and Professional Development department 


In 2020 Anthropology News published 234 articles from 255 contributing authors. The AAA also published two issues of our digital-only, public journal Open Anthropology focusing on topics like pandemic perspectives and hope.

The AAA’s publications team also oversaw the transition of American Anthropologist editor-in-chief from Deborah A. Thomas, University of Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth J. Chin, ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Dr. Chin, a professor at an art and design institution, is engaging in new and innovative experiments within the journal.


We are grateful for the generous individuals, sections, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation that joined the Executive Board in making it possible to provide emergency assistance to members whose livelihoods were directly affected by the pandemic.

Your charitable gifts make it possible for AAA to continue to imagine innovative ways of serving our members and the field, for which we are deeply grateful.


In 2020, Member Advocates brought 90 new members into the AAA community. We welcomed 86 recent graduates who either self-nominated or were nominated by their professors for free AAA memberships through our New & Recent Graduate program. This past year, 27 outstanding K-12 students received the Junior Anthropologists award. The trial phase of the K-12 educator membership category added 18 members – the category will officially launch in 2021.

We would like to thank the more than 175 volunteers who helped make all of this possible by serving on AAA committees, the Executive Board, working groups, section leadership, and more. 

Thank you, and Happy New Year from the American Anthropological Association.

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