Virtual Meeting Agenda


2021 Norfolk logo.pngWelcome to the 81st annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, its first ever all-virtual meeting. The meeting theme of Linking Social, Cultural and Physical Ecologies encompasses a wide range of critically important issues for social science in these times, including the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and social justice, health equity, climate change, natural and human-made disasters. At a time when travel is difficult and connection is so important, the virtual format enables wide participation from social scientists around the globe.

We are excited about a packed program including workshops, interactive live-streamed and pre-recorded sessions, critical conversations, meet-ups, posters, workshops, exhibits and videos. The meeting also features a full complement of business meetings, award sessions and other regular features.

The annual meeting is an important part of SfAA – as a place to share work, ideas and networks. We’ll be learning a lot using this new format and you can help with this. Thank you for maintaining our ethical policies and practices for a safe, inclusive and equitable meeting environment. And heartfelt thanks to all who contributed in so many ways to putting on the 2021 SfAA Annual Meeting. Enjoy!

Full participation in the meeting is through registration and use of Whova, the virtual meeting platform.




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Linking Social, Cultural and Physical Ecologies 

Welcome to the 81st annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, its first ever all-virtual meeting. The original meeting location of Norfolk, VA, was also a first as a meeting site for SfAA, but these challenging times necessitated the move to a virtual platform. We have, however, retained as much as possible of the flavor of Norfolk in the theme itself, which emphasizes multiple levels of influence on communities and peoples, and in the sessions and critical conversations scheduled for local day on March 22, as well as throughout the week. Norfolk is part of the larger Hampton Roads metropolitan area, one of the world’s largest natural harbors and shipping centers, a tourist destination, a major coastal watershed affected by climate change, site of several large military bases, a center of colonial history and the legacy of slavery, and home to African-descendant and multiple indigenous communities. As such, Norfolk is a microcosm for the forces and changes affecting communities across the globe. For these reasons, the meeting theme of Linking Social, Cultural and Physical Ecologies encompasses a wide range of critically important issues for social science in these times, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, natural and human-made disasters, social justice, health equity, racism and discrimination. Moreover, at a time when travel is difficult for so many and connection is so important, the virtual format enables wide participation from social scientists in both the U.S. and around the globe. We currently have over 1,100 registrants from 33 countries and 49 states.   

We are excited about a packed program, hosted through a virtual meeting platform called Whova, which provides a variety of features supporting both interactive live-streamed and pre-recorded sessions, meet-ups, and posters. The program includes eight workshops prior to the main meeting (March 18 and 19), which runs from Monday, March 22, through Saturday, March 27. Sessions cover such topics as: responses to COVID-19, communities facing environmental concerns, risk and disaster issues, fisheries, sustainable communities, education, health and health care, immigration, anthropology of military institutions, gender-based violence, social justice, disabilities issues, African and other descendant communities. And be sure to sit in on a critical conversation session on Thursday, March 25, concerning the 2020 US Census.

The program contains 592 papers, to be presented in 146 organized sessions and 60 volunteered paper sessions, along with 37 posters, and 2 videos. The sessions add up to a full schedule from Monday through Saturday. The meeting also features a full complement of business meetings and award sessions, including the J. Anthony Paredes Memorial Plenary (Wednesday); the Robert A. and Beverly H. Hackenberg Prize and Lecture (Wednesday); the Peter K. New Award (Tuesday); the Michael Kearney Memorial Lecture (Wednesday); and the Pertti J. Pelto International Travel Award Lecture (Wednesday). There will be two Annual Awards Ceremonies – the 2020 awards will be presented on Tuesday and the 2021 awards on Wednesday--at which the winners of the Margaret Mead, Sol Tax, and Bronislaw Malinowski Awards for their respective years will be announced. 

The virtual format offers a number of scheduling benefits. Volunteered papers have been organized into sessions that, while scheduled, are asynchronous and can be viewed at any time. Posters are also asynchronous, but with the opportunity for interaction with poster presenters. All session blocks are 1 hour and 45 minutes, with an additional 45 minutes of meet-up time per block for the live sessions. 

Even though it is a virtual meeting, there will be a slate of local-day sessions on Monday, March 22, kicked off by a critical conversation on local coastal communities and their adaptation to flooding, followed by a critical conversation sponsored by faculty from the nearby College of William and Mary on controversies surrounding repatriation of African and Native American remains, and a session sponsored by the local U.S. National Park Service. The day is capped off by a virtual Welcome Reception, with remarks from the SfAA President and Program Chair, and a land acknowledgment from Tidewater-area Tribal Nations. There are also virtual tours available of Norfolk, Williamsburg, and local historical sites including Fort Monroe, where the first enslaved Africans landed in 1619. 

Developing the program and migrating to a virtual platform has been a herculean task, spanning the past year and a half. As Program Chair, I conceptualized the theme, with backing from an outstanding Program Committee and support from the topical interest groups (TIGs) and co-sponsors, who assembled a rich and diverse program. This year’s program owes a special debt of gratitude to the newly formed SfAA Meetings Working Group, headed by incoming President Michael Paolisso, which played a central role in managing the shift to a virtual format, and to the input and wise counsel provided by current President Sherylyn Briller. SfAA Annual Meeting and Awards Coordinator Don Stull provided essential guidance and assistance. And, of course, the SfAA Office is the backbone, managing myriad tasks so vital to the organization and the annual meeting--SfAA Executive Director Neil Hann, Office Manager Trish Colvin, and Annual Meeting Program Administrator Melissa Cope (who also designed the program logo). They do so much for the Society for Applied Anthropology and its members, and with such grace and good cheer. 

And finally, thank you for helping make SfAA 2021 a first-of-its-kind meeting, one that will be outstanding in its own right and provide a blueprint from which future meetings can draw, even when we return to our beloved in-person format. 

Mark Edberg, PhD, MA 
Program Chair

Special Thanks

Special Thank You to All the Following:

2021 Program Committee

Program Chair
Mark Edberg (George Washington University)

Annual Meeting and Awards Coordinator 
Don Stull (University of Kansas)

Kimberly Albero (University of Virginia School of Medicine)
Eric Bailey (East Carolina University)
Patricia M. Clay (NOAA Fisheries)
Kerry Fosher (Marine Corps University)
Judith Freidenberg (University of Maryland)
Cynthia Grace-McCaskey (East Carolina University)
Rylan Higgins (St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia)
Sylvia Jalil-Gutierrez (Central Connecticut State University)
Karen Breda (University of Hartford)
Adam Koons (Federal Emergency Management Agency/FEMA)
Laurie Krieger (Manoff Group)
Elisabeth N. Moolenaar (Regis University)
Chad Morris (Roanoke College)
Michael Paolisso (University of Maryland)
Carrie Pomeroy (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Jana Rehak (University of Maryland)
Bill Roberts (Saint Mary’s College of Maryland)
Jean Schensul (Institute for Community Research)
Kristin Sullivan (Salisbury University)
Jennifer Talken-Spaulding (U. S. National Park Service)
Jennifer Trivedi (University of Delaware)
Anna Willow (Ohio State University)
Alisha R. Winn (Palm Beach Atlantic University & Consider the Culture)
Elizabeth Wirtz (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

SFAA Meetings Working Group

Michael Paolisso (University of Maryland)

Sherylyn Briller (Purdue University)
Kira Ballin (Purdue University)
Trish Colvin (Society for Applied Anthropology)
Melissa Cope (Society for Applied Anthropology)
Mark Edberg (George Washington University)
Judith Freidenberg (University of Maryland)
Neil Hann (Society for Applied Anthropology)
Sunil Khanna (Oregon State University)
Rebecca Eli Long (Purdue University)
Jenail Marshall (Purdue University)
Don Stull (University of Kansas)
Jeremy Trombley (University of Oregon)
A. Rey Villanueva (University of Texas, San Antonio)
Jennifer Wies (Eastern Kentucky University)

We would like to thank the following SfAA TIGs, Committees, and Groups for organizing several relevant sessions. For more information, please visit the group on our online community at 

Topical Interest Groups

Anthropology of Higher Education TIG 
Business Anthropology TIG 
Engaged Museums Group 
ExtrAction and Environment TIG 
Fisheries and Coastal Communities TIG 
Gender-Based Violence TIG 
Heritage and Tourism TIG 
Human Rights and Social Justice Committee 
Migration and International Dialogue TIG 
Risk and Disaster TIG 

Several professional associations have joined with us in varying degrees as co-sponsoring organizations. The leadership of these groups contributed significantly to the substantive content of the Program. 

2021 Meeting Co-Sponsors

Council on Nursing and Anthropology/CONAA
Culture & Agriculture/C&A
National Association for the Practice of Anthropology/NAPA 
Political Ecology Society/PESO
Society for Anthropological Sciences/SAS
Society for Disability Studies/SDS 
Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists/WAPA 

Officers of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Board of Directors, and Editors 

Sherylyn Briller (Purdue University), President, 2019-2021
Michael Paolisso (University of Maryland), President Elect, 2020-2021
Jane Gibson (University of Kansas), Secretary, 2019-2022
Jennifer Wies (Eastern Kentucky University), Treasurer, 2018-2021 

Board of Directors 
Keri Brondo (University of Memphis), 2019-2023
Robyn Eversole (Swinburne University, Australia) 2018-2021
A.J. Faas (San Jose State University), 2018-2021
Judith Freidenberg (University of Maryland), 2019-2022
Melinda González (Louisiana State University), 2019-2022 
Lenore Manderson (University of the Witwatersrand), 2019-2023
Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez (Arizona State University), 2019-2022

David Himmelgreen (University of South Florida), Co-Editor, Human Organization
Nancy Romero-Daza (University of South Florida), Co-Editor, Human Organization

Lisa Jane Hardy (Northern Arizona University), Editor, Practicing Anthropology

Jeanne Simonelli (Wottsamatta U Consulting), Co-Editor, SfAA News 
Orit Tamir (New Mexico Highlands University), Co-Editor, SfAA News 

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

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