Working Session: ASAO Histories
Organizers: Jan Rensel and Alan Howard
Participants in this session have drafted papers on a variety of aspects of ASAO's history. Some of these could be further developed to address wider audiences (particularly those interested in the history of anthropology or the history of associations), but most of the papers should be of greatest interest to ASAO members and particularly ASAO officers and board members.
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 former NorthEast Wantok System newsletter for Melanesianists; and the development of the ASAO website.
The organizers are checking with all current participants about whether to convene again in person in Auckland or simply proceed with finalizing the current papers; either way, this is an ongoing project and new topics are welcomed. We will also be exploring best ways to make the papers available online once they are all finished.
ASAO Histories participants can access the Histories blog here.
Jan Rensel, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, UH Mānoa <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Alan Howard, Anthropology Department, UH Mānoa <email@example.com>