As I scanned the last afternoon’s program of the AAA Annual Gabfest I noticed an interesting and potentially disturbing trend. Across many of the sections’ program tracks there was a what appears to be a much greater than chance that most if not all the slots were filled with international based authors’ papers and had either US doctoral students or international based faculty as discussants. Indeed at the last coffee break of the conference it looked like a replacement for the recently cut “international reception”. Could there be implicit or explicit bias at work here??? Given the political culture of the USA with America First, it should not be surprising.
Speaking of the International Reception being cut, it was a painless way for the AAA to reduce conference costs. After all international members are very unlikely to complain as we are guests of your association, despite the fact that we seem to do a disproportionate amount of the heavy lifting in some sections. When I started coming to the AAA as a Canadian based assistant professor in 1993, at first I found the idea of an international reception to be a bit strange, especially in the days before 911 and more recently President Orange Hair. However in the last decade I found it an important and useful networking event rather than trying to find international colleagues among the assembled minions.
In the end there is nothing wrong with either of these moves in light of the USA first political culture in the US. But do NOT pretend that the AAA is an international organization any longer, it is a US national association that accepts international members.