Destination Albuquerque

By Erve Chambers
2014 Program Chair

02The 2014 annual meetings to be held next month in Albuquerque (March 18-22) will be among the largest meetings in our Society’s history. As of the first week of February, there were 1,820 participants preregistered. We will have 250 sessions, with nearly 1,700 individuals on the program. There are about 90 posters to be presented. We are offering 11 workshops and 14 tours, a record number for our meetings. But there is more to be appreciated here than the numbers. I trust you will be impressed by the overall quality of papers and other activities to be offered, and by the considerable diversity of subjects with which the participants are concerned. Among contributors we have a good mix of academic professionals, student presenters, and I think a larger than usual turnabout of anthropologists and other social scientists who practice outside of academia. Twenty-nine countries are represented among the presenters.

We have tried to be as flexible as possible in encouraging innovative sessions that break the mold of the standard 10 or 15 minute paper session, keeping in mind that our many constituencies (practitioners, academics, students, and the general public) have different needs in respect to how they might best convey and receive knowledge and information. In addition to paper sessions, you will find a considerable number of roundtables and panels throughout the program, and a few experimental sessions that are worth paying attention to. In this regard I am especially pleased with some of the sessions scheduled for Albuquerque/New Mexico Day (Tuesday March 18) that include panel discussions in the hotel followed by tours to sites in the Albuquerque area. A discussion of community gardens will, for example, be followed by a tour of three exemplary gardens. Similar panel/tour combinations will be devoted to local health care delivery facilities, the local food movement, and expressions of Native American art. There are also sessions that experiment with both the style and length of presentations.

Albuquerque/New Mexico Day (Tuesday, March 18) has been developed as an opportunity to share a part of our meetings with the residents of the region. It will also be an opportunity to showcase anthropology and applied social science. We are publicizing the day locally and have invited the public to attend the day’s sessions free of charge. It is especially pleasing that a good number of Albuquerque residents have agreed to actively participate in the events of the of day—including political leaders, representatives of the media, tribal and Pueblo representatives, staff of public agencies, and local activists. So it is not just “us” talking about “them” behind closed doors but multiple parties freely engaged with important issues. We are pleased that the Albuquerque Public Library has agreed to cosponsor the day and to help with publicity. In addition to the session/tours noted above, some highlights of the day include:

  • A panel of local experts on “Water Sharing and Water Shortage in New Mexico” organized and moderated by Michael Agar.
  • A multi-session symposium on “Rethinking Puebloan Social Formations” organized by Peter Whiteley and including participants from each of the four traditional anthropological sub disciplines.
  • A major roundtable discussion of the status of “Behavioral Health Care in New Mexico” chaired by Cathleen Willging, Sabrina Montoya, Christi Fields, and Louise Lamphere, with participation from state legislators, service users and providers, and advocates. This session will be followed by a reception.
  • A feature devoted to “The Undocumented Youth-Led Struggle for Justice” organized by Steve Pavey and Mariela Nuñez-Janes. Here representatives of the undocumented youth community strive to “re-imagine and renew through visual art, poetry, and aesthetics a social world that society often criminalizes and dehumanizes.” Parts of this session will also be repeated on Saturday, March 22 at the downtown public library.
  • A two-part session on “Tribal Consultation in the Southwest” organized by Shawn Kelley and Jeff Blythe, with representatives of Native American tribes, government agencies, and other organizations discussing best practices for consulting with tribal representatives in furthering cultural resources preservation and interpretation.
  • Representatives of regional immigrant community organizations will meet in an open discussion organized by Josiah Heyman.

These are just a few of the activities scheduled for Albuquerque/New Mexico Day. There will also be sessions and talks devoted to New Mexico’s history and heritage, including a talk by Nancy Owen Lewis on Albuquerque’s development as a tuberculosis treatment center and a talk by Kathy Flynn on the New Deal in Albuquerque. A number of sessions are focused on health disparities and interventions in Albuquerque and in the state. We will be entertained by Steve Cormier, the “cowboy with a PhD,” who will provide music from the ranch and open range. On Tuesday evening, the Alfonso Ortiz Center at the University of New Mexico will host a selection of films about New Mexico and the greater Southwest. Tuesday evening will include a performance by the country/blues band A Band Named Sue.

You can anticipate any number of other social events and special presentations during the course of the meeting, starting Wednesday evening with a welcome session co-sponsored by the City of Albuquerque. There will be complimentary food and beverages (come early) and a mariachi band. On Thursday Rodolfo Stravenhagen will present the Michael Kearney lecture. On Friday there will be a capstone session honoring Valene Smith for her pioneering contribution to tourism research. The awards ceremony on Friday evening will include presentations by Paul Durrenberger, the Malinowski Award recipient, and Sera Young, the Margaret Mead Award recipient. Sadly but nonetheless importantly, there will be sessions honoring three of our recently passed comrades—Tony Paredes, Robert Kemper, and Phil Young.

We have 14 tours offered during the 2014 meetings, a record number. The University of New Mexico’s Ortiz Center is helping to sponsor a tour of a plaza revitalization project at the Ohkay Owingeh (Tewa) Pueblo. Beverly Singer will lead the tour. Orit Tamir has helped organize a tour to visit Laguna Pueblo during St. Joseph’s Feast Day on Wednesday, March 19th. There will be Indian dances, food, and Indian art offered for sale. Noted archaeologist Lynne Sebastian has agreed to lead a tour of the Salinas Pueblo National Mission Monument, which lies to the southeast of Albuquerque. Tey Nunn is the Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum and she will be leading a tour of the museum to include a visit to parts of the museum that are not normally open to the public. There will also be tours of the nearby Petroglyph National Monument, of Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, and of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. As of this writing, there was still space in each of these tours, but several were close to being filled.

There are numerous other opportunities to mount self-tours within walking and biking distance of the convention hotel. I noted several of these in a previous report (see the November 2013 issue of SfAA News). Other possibilities are described in the website for the Albuquerque Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (

The Hotel Albuquerque is a great venue with plenty of space outside the meeting rooms for milling around and meeting people. I understand there are no more rooms at that inn, but information about other nearby lodging can be found on the Society’s website. I do look forward to seeing you in Albuquerque. I’m the guy with the eye glasses.

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