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:

  • The American Anthropological Association will support the growth, advancement and application of anthropological science and interpretation through research, publication, and dissemination within a broad range of educational and research institutions, through the application of anthropological expertise in professional practice, as well as by communicating anthropological knowledge to society at large.
  • The AAA will reinforce and promote the values associated with the acquisition of anthropological knowledge, expertise, and interpretation, and the articulation of anthropological knowledge with knowledge production more broadly. This includes a commitment to the AAA Code of Ethics and the AAA Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights. It also includes a commitment to the importance of diversity in the anthropological profession, both social and intellectual, and a commitment to the well-being of anthropologists’ human and non-human research subjects.
  • The AAA will remain an organization that enables the development and dissemination of anthropological knowledge. It is committed to pursuing that goal through its internal organizational structure, its long-range planning process, its Annual Meetings, its Section- sponsored conferences, its support for professional/practicing anthropology within the AAA and the discipline at large, its support for a state-of-the art communications infrastructure, its support for departments of anthropology within colleges, universities, and other research and teaching institutions, and its support for anthropologists pursuing a complex and expanding range of opportunities for employment.
  • In order to achieve the other three elements of this vision, the AAA will develop and maintain the financial resources necessary for achieving these goals.


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 organiz