2019 Program Chair Michael Paolisso.jpgMichael Paolisso
2019 Program Chair
University of Maryland

In less than two months, we will gather in Portland, Oregon, for our Society’s 79th annual meeting. It will be a time for us to discuss how best to engage in research and practice that fits the challenges of our times. Not only is our meeting a time for serious reflection and discussion, it is also a time for camaraderie and to refresh personal and professional relationships. We will be welcomed to City of Portland, and encouraged to explore the historic and contemporary dynamics that shape the greater Cascadia region. Our annual meeting affords us the privilege—and the responsibility—to consider how applied social sciences make a difference in the lives, communities, and environments where we live and work.

I will see many of you in Portland. You have enthusiastically responded to my call to think about how these turbulent times require a rethinking and retooling in how we apply anthropology and the social sciences to a wide range of topics and problems. I am pleased to report that we anticipate about 1,900 participants, which will make Portland our third largest annual meeting.  The breadth of your interests and ideas is truly impressive. I encourage you to review the meeting’s program, which eloquently conveys the range of topics and issues we will focus on in Portland.

If you did not register or submit an abstract for a session, workshop or other event, it is not too late to register! The meeting is an opportunity for you to listen to new ideas, participate in discussions, make new contacts, develop new skills, and refresh your ideas and interests. Our registration fees are among the lowest of any professional society. Regardless of where you are on your career path, you will find your investment of time and money well worth your while.

If you have not done so already, make your travel plans as soon as possible. The Hilton Portland Downtown Hotel is the host hotel for the meetings. We are already sold out of all the conference room rates for the Hilton and its overflow hotel, the Duniway. Additional options near the host hotel are available and are listed at:


The Program Committee has developed informative workshops on up-to-date topics. A description of the workshops along with an online registration form is on the SfAA website at: 


Enrollment in these workshops is on a first-come, first-served basis. Several of the workshops have limited enrollment. Please make your workshop reservation as soon as possible.

We have assembled exciting tours that will explore some of the fascinating venues in Portland and the surrounding areas. A description of the tours, along with an online registration form, is on the website at:


Enrollment in these tours is also on a first-come, first-served basis. Several of the tours have limited enrollment. Space in the tours is filling up fast, so purchase your tickets soon.

When you are not in sessions, networking, or honing skills in a workshop, I hope you will discover and enjoy Portland and the surrounding areas. Learning more about Portland has been one of the perks of serving as Program Chair. Portland is a very walkable city, and public transportation is extensive and easy to use. Residents are helpful and very willing to augment your online information and Google directions. The only challenge I see is the vast number of choices for food, recreation, art, etc.  Fortunately, the SfAA’s “Portland 101” will help you get off to a good start on your exploration of the city. Detailed travel information and summaries about Portland food and attractions may be found here:


Always feel free to contact the SfAA Office at (405) 843-5113 or email  info@sfaa.net if you have any questions. My special thanks again to members of the program committee and the staff of the SfAA office. In particular, I would like to thank Ms. Melissa Cope for her guidance and support in scheduling the sessions, roundtables, workshops, and local day events. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the SfAA Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) and co-sponsoring organizations in reviewing abstracts and organizing sessions from individual paper submissions. I could not have created a program schedule without all this expert assistance and support. See you all in Portland, soon!

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