The American Anthropological Association meets next fall in Montreal. I’m excited to see some friends, and when some colleagues asked me to be on a panel, I agreed. Little did I know that the paper submission process involved a money grab by AAA, and that their conference registration system has no provision for participation from people from other disciplines, who might not need everything AAA has to offer.

So when I finally finished registering (after only one call to their main office, where I found the person on the phone to be very helpful), their system asked me what I thought of the paper submission process. My answer was this:

I think very poorly of it.

1. The interface was glitchy on a Mac running the latest version of Safari (I switched to Firefox but there were still rendering issues with lists).

2. It was poorly designed in terms of usability, which is a little surprising in this day and age.

3. I think it’s a crime to charge someone who is not an anthropologist over $350 for the privilege of submitting to the conference. Fine, I’m willing to register if my paper is accepted, but otherwise it’s just a money grab on your part.

[Edit — Carrie saw me approving a comment and asked what this was about. I told her about the $350 and she replied “that’s extortion.” Of course, she would take my side, wouldn’t she?]

4. I requested a temporary membership waiver pending the acceptance of my paper via your online form and did not receive anything back–not even an acknowledgement I’d submitted a request.

5. There was no way to correct a misspelling of my name in the paper submission section.

(I will apparently be listed in the program as “Jonathan Jonathan Sterne Sterne.”)

4 replies on “AAA, WTF?”

  1. re: name error — kind of appropriate for the man who fought the calendar gatekeepers to name a course “Seminar on Repetition Seminar on Repetition.”

  2. Likewise, I was really disturbed by the “submission fee”. I went to many conferences in the past 10 years, and never saw such a policy. I didn’t submit anything, because I couldn’t stomach being extorted to pay this fee (even though it is not my own pocket money). I am also thinking whether I should “crash” the conference without registering, just to spite this policy.

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