Two Important Messages from the SMA

Hi SMA members,

1. Please read the following message for important information regarding upcoming deadlines for the next AAA Meeting in Chicago, November 20-24, 2013.  This information can also be accessed on the Society for Medical Anthropology’s website, using the following link:  SMA_AAA_announcement_2013.

Here is summary of deadlines for the various proposal types:

February 6- Deadline for executive session proposals.
March 1- Decisions on executive sessions announced.
March 15- Proposal deadline for section invited sessions, installations and public policy forums.
April 4- Results of section invited session proposals announced.
April 15- Proposal deadline for volunteered sessions, individual paper and poster presentations, roundtables, and special events.
April 15- To be included in the 2013 AAA Annual Meeting program, participants must be registered by this date.

For more detailed information see:

Executive Sessions. A small number of executive sessions will be selected that speak directly to the conference theme and serve to engage the broad constituency of anthropologists and our interlocutors.  Especially encouraged are proposals that draw out anthropology’s shifting place in the world in the widest sense: conceptual, political, social, economic. Such sessions can be traditional panels with papers, but we also encourage these to take different formats.

Invited Sessions. The SMA welcomes proposals for Invited Session status. Guidelines are the same as for regular panels, with the following exceptions: proposals must be submitted online via the online abstract submission system by 5:00 PM EDT on March 15, 2013 to receive full consideration. The system opens on the AAA website beginning February 15. Submissions consist of two sets of information: (1) a session abstract of no more than 500 words, keywords, length of session, anticipated attendance, presenter names and roles, to be submitted by the panel organizer(s); and (2) individual abstracts (of no more than 250 words), paper title and keywords, to be submitted by individual presenters. Incomplete proposals will not be accepted.

In addition to the criteria for regularly submitted sessions, organizers of sessions to be proposed for Invited status should make sure their proposals also meet the criteria of importance of topic, timeliness, and relevance to conference theme.  Institutional diversity among panel participants is also an important consideration. SMA has only 3-5 Invited slots (the number depends on whether sessions chosen are double- or single- sessions, and whether one or two of them are co-sponsored with another AAA subgroup). Thus single (versus double) sessions have a greater chance of acquiring approval. Finally, please let Program Committee Co-Chairs, Alex Edmonds ( and Becky Read-Wahidi ( know if you think your panel would be appropriate for co-sponsorship with another section of the AAA. Co-sponsorship can increase the number of sessions that SMA can invite. We will notify organizers selected for invited status by April 4, 2013. Discussants and Chairs must be registered by the April 15, 2013 final deadline in order to appear on the 2013 Annual Meeting Program.

Roundtables . We encourage submissions of roundtable proposals since they can provide more time for intellectual exchange and audience interaction than other panel types.  No papers are presented in this format. The organizer will submit an abstract for the roundtable but participants will not present papers or submit abstracts. A roundtable presenter is a major role, having the same weight as a paper presentation. All organizers and roundtable presenters must register. The normal deadline for roundtable submission is April 15; however, note that roundtables can also request invited status, in which case proposals must be submitted before March 15.

Media submissions, Installations, public policy forums and other proposal types
See the AAA website for more information:

A Note About Panel Size. The SMA is a very large section. To maximize the overall number of presenter slots, we encourage session organizers to fill available timeslots to the best of their ability. We recommend that all single panels include six speakers (presenters or discussants), with a maximum of one discussion slot.
Double Sessions. It is increasingly difficult to justify double sessions. Before submitting double panels, organizers should think carefully about the panel’s purpose and membership. Could the same ideas be conveyed in half the time? Some single panels likewise suffer from disorganization. Slotted for 1.75 hours, a single panel has seven 15-minute time slots.  It typically includes 4-6 papers, no breaks, a maximum of two discussants, and perhaps one discussion period.  We do encourage including a discussion period.  If the organizer(s) intend to provide an opening statement, this should occupy a full time slot. All time slots are 15 minutes long, whether reserved for introductory remarks, individual papers, discussant time, or open/audience discussion. Time slot lengths should not be altered.

Befriend Your Neighbor. The SMA receives a very large number of individual paper submissions. The Program committee takes seriously its task of organizing strong papers into cohesive and well-balanced sessions. Submitting a paper individually, however, is risky business, and thus authors should consider organizing their own panels (one might extend a call for participants through the SMA website).

Posters. Poster submissions have grown in recent years. Posters offer an easy and compelling method for presenting research findings, and a format that allows for more audience interaction than does a panel. The SMA welcomes poster submissions!

Please direct any questions to the Program Committee Co-Chairs, Alex Edmonds ( and Becky Read-Wahidi (

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

2.  Global Network Travel Awards: Deadline March 1, 2013

The aim of the joint EASA/SMA conference in Tarragona, Spain is for these two networks to meet, but also to engage colleagues from areas of the world where professional medical anthropology networks and societies are not well formed, especially in Africa, South America, Asia, and the Pacific.  We have been awarded funds from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to facilitate participation in the conference by a more geographically diverse population of medical anthropological researchers.  We invite you to register and participate in the Tarragona conference, and encourage you to apply as needed for the Global Network Travel Award.
The Global Network Travel Award is a competitive, need-based award to facilitate attendance and participation in the EASA/SMA Joint Conference in Tarragona, Spain (June 2013).  Ideal candidates will come from developing contexts and/or parts of the world where a professional network or society of medical anthropologists has not yet formed or is only minimally developed.  Applications will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Scientific Committee.  Awardees may be invited to take leadership roles within the conference proceedings.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send a one-page description of need, and your proposed paper/poster/video (Word or PDF format, if possible) to Professor Cartwright’s email no later than March 1, 2013. Award recipients will be notified by April 1, 2013.  Award funds must be used to subsidize travel, conference fees and accommodations. The Conference will be held in English, however, every effort will be made to facilitate translation through volunteer student translators and multi-lingual signage.



Douglas A. Feldman, Ph.D.
The College at Brockport,
State University of New York
Department of Anthropology

President, Society for Medical Anthropology