Working Session: ASAO Histories
Organizers: Jan Rensel and Alan Howard
This was our fourth gathering and third working session on various aspects of ASAO's history. There were 11 people present (including the 2 session organizers via one Skype connection), plus 4 authors and numerous commentators contributing in absentia. The focus of our discussion was "What next?" and the goals of the session were to consider a range of possible audiences for the materials we are generating and possible venues whereby to reach them; to provide authors with ideas of how to develop or finalize their papers for particular audiences and venues; and to identify additional topics that would be useful to research. The consensus was that, although some of the papers could be developed to address wider audiences (particularly those interested in the history of anthropology or the history of associations), most of the current papers would be of greatest interest to ASAO members, and some in particular to ASAO officers and board members, and we will be exploring best ways to make them available online once they are all finished. The organizers will be checking with all the participants to see whether we will convene again in person next year in Auckland.
In one core paper, "A History of ASAO Sessions: Formats and Topics," Alex Mawyer and Alan Howard draw on a massive amount of data that they have assembled from ASAO Newsletters about the more than 700 ASAO sessions held since the organization's inception in the late 1960s, including the organizers, authors, and paper titles in each of those sessions, geographical focuses, topical areas, and whether the sessions gave rise to publications. This data compilation will undoubtedly be useful for further analyses, including for the authors of other papers in this session.
Other papers in the session address the histories of the Distinguished Lectures and the ASAO Monograph/Book series; the processes of annual meeting site selection; the early evolution and significance of membership categories; the importance of mentoring and networking with students as exemplified by Jane Goodale; the origins of the Pacific Islands Scholars Fund and reflections on other ways of encouraging Pacific Islander participation and membership; an account of experiencing ASAO through ASAONET; the intertwined histories of the what was once the Association for Social Anthropology in Eastern Oceania (ASAEO) and NEWS, the NorthEast Wantok System newsletter for Melanesianists, in light of the gradually increasing involvement of the latter in the broadened ASAO; and the development of the ASAO website.
ASAO Histories participants can access the Histories blog here.
Jan Rensel, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, UH Mānoa <email@example.com>;
Alan Howard, Anthropology Department, UH Mānoa <firstname.lastname@example.org>