Notes from the Section Leadership: ASAP Yearly Report
David Haines and Cris Shore
Originally Anthropology News Online (January 25, 2017)
Reposted on ASAP Forum (April 25, 2017)
The Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP) continued to progress during 2016 and the two of us particularly want to thank outgoing president, Janine Wedel. She has poured much of her energy and competence into ASAP and its IGAPP predecessor for well over a decade now. The goods news is that she is still on the board as past-president and will continue to be active on our behalf. We would also like to welcome Carol McLennan and Paul Stubbs as our new co-presidents-elect. Among other issues, they will be taking over the duties for the ASAP part of the program at the next two AAA Annual Meetings, in Washington this year, and San Jose the year after. Finally, thanks to our outgoing past-presidents Bill Beeman and Greg Feldman, and to Rebecca Peters for taking on secretary-treasurer responsibilities until an election can be held for the position later this year.
ASAP’s membership continues to grow. That growth corresponds with our belief that ASAP has an important role to fill on both the academic and practical sides of the discipline, in understanding policy per se and in finding ways to make the world of policy more responsive, effective, and transparent. Our aim remains to examine policy in all its formulations, implementations, and effects in order to better understand the complex social relations and cultural worlds that different policy assemblages create. That holistic and analytical approach to policy will be sorely needed in the years ahead.
Over the past year we have seen many organizational improvements. Judi Pajo and Ted Powers have been expanding the number and range of columns, and will soon start featuring notes from the field to tap into emerging research by younger scholars. On the education side, Valoree Gagnon and Kelly McKowen have compiled a focused research bibliography on the anthropology of policy that should help give us a common core for discussion and reflection. It will be posted on the website in early 2017. On the communications side, Eric Cheng has taken over as listserv coordinator and Georgia Hartman and Jason Scott have brought us squarely into social media. Jason set up our Facebook and Twitter presences in 2016 and managed our first three online discussions using those media: on refugees, corruption, and sports. Georgia, in turn, set up our Instagram presence and created a system of guest editors to visually examine policy in different places on different topics. So far that series of guest editors has included Georgia herself, Elisha Oliver, Eliza Williamson, Ather Zia, Paula Suter, Jessica-Jean Cassler, and Tappsi Ramachandani. We are indebted to all of them. Georgia is also experimenting with anthropologist reflections along the lines of Humans of New York.
ASAP was active at the Minneapolis meeting with 15 sessions, another round of our now traditional mentoring session (particular thanks to Fayana Richards, our graduate student representative), and our board and business meetings. The highlight of the business meeting was the presentation to Negar Razavi of our very first graduate student paper award. The process was managed by Jennifer Hubbert (officer-at-large) and had a very solid set of submissions, especially considering this was the inaugural year. An abbreviated version of Negar’s paper, “Off the Record and in the Loop: Excavating Power in the Washington Foreign Policy Establishment,” will be available as an ASAP column later in 2017. The two of us were able, by splitting our efforts, to attend most of the sessions at Minneapolis and we will provide our reflections on those sessions in a later column.
For this next year, we welcome your comments on any topic, invite your ideas for sessions at the D.C. meeting this fall, and remind you that you can always find us on the web as anthofpolicy.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as @anthofpolicy. A list of contacts is on our website but note particularly the following key contacts: Carol McLennan ([email protected]) for this year’s AAA program in Washington, Jason Scott (jasonbartsc[email protected]) for Facebook and Twitter (including ideas for online discussions), Eric Cheng ([email protected] or [email protected]) for the listserv, and Georgia Hartman ([email protected]) for Instagram (especially if you are interested in being one of the guest editors).