American Ethnological Society

Marvin Richardson *Posted May 1999

Focus and Goals: Ethnology of all groups and cultures
Organization Website:
Total Membership in 1999: nearly 4,000
Type of Organization: international

Essential Information

Date founded: 1842

Newsletter or Journal: American Ethnologist

Monograph Series

Annual Membership fees: Regular $45.00, Student $18.00, Joint $22.00

Affiliation with other groups: American Anthropological Association

Listserve or other internet resources: AES Listserve:

Contact Address:
Member Services

American Anthropological Association

4350 North Fairfax Drive,

Suite 640 Arlington,

VA 22203-1620

Phone: (703) 528-1902 ext. 3032

fax: (703) 528-3546

Prizes, Projects, or other Special Programs
The AES offers three awards to members. The Senior Book Prize is given to a senior member of the AES. The First Book Award is given to a previously unpublished scholar and the Elsie Clews Parsons Award is given to the presenter of the best graduate essay at the AAA meetings.

A Brief History of the American Ethnological Society

Founded in 1842 by Albert Gallatin and John Russell Bartlett, the American Ethnological Society is one of the oldest anthropological organizations in the United States. Based in New York City, the Society historically provided a forum for discussion and presentation on a variety of topics including geography, history, archaeology, philology, crainiology, literature, and travel. The Society grew and changed along with the field of anthropology, slowly becoming specialized as an anthropological organization which recognized the four sub-fields, but maintained a largely socio-cultural focus. The Society joined the American Anthropological Association in the early 1980’s, but remains a sizeable, relatively independent, and very well respected organization.

About the American Ethnological Society
Unlike many other organizations and special interest groups under the AAA’s wing, the American Ethnological Society (AES) once existed as a separate organization from the AAA, and maintains a broader anthropological focus. Now in its 157th year, the AES continues its tradition of ethnology by holding annual meetings, publishing a journal and promoting various activities and publications for its members.

The AES has nearly 4,000 members from all over the world, most of whom are socio-cultural anthropologists. Only one membership class exists in the AES and each member must also be a member of the AAA . Each member receives the Society's publications and is given one vote in elections and official business. The offices held in the AES include President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Board of Directors, Councilors, General Editor and Journal Editor. The Society meets each year at the AAA meetings, as well as at special or regional meetings, which can be called at any time by the President with at least sixty days notice.

The official journal of the AES is the American Ethnologist. This journal, which was begun in 1972 is jointly published by the AAA and the AES. American Ethnologist’s focus is mainly on socio-cultural topics and welcomes papers in areas such as ecology, economy, social organization, ethnicity, politics, ideology, personality, cognition, ritual, symbolism and cosmology. In addition, American Ethnologist focuses on any human group or society and deals with culture both diachronically and synchronically. The AES also publishes the Monograph Series which holds on to the sociocultural interests of the Society.

Both the AAA and the AES maintain web sites that contain information on the AES. These sites offer historical information as well as information about the AES bylaws and contacts. These sites also offer information on AES publications and links to other anthropology related sites.

The American Ethnological Society homepage can be found at:

The American Anthropological Association homepage can be found at:

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