Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists


Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists

Angela N. Martin *Posted May 1999


Focus and Goals: ALLA is an organization which strives to foster the distribution of information and research on Latinos in the United States. It is concerned with forming coalitions with other professional organizations while also including the participation of community leaders, non-academic anthropologists, and views from both insider and indigenous peoples.

Organization Website: http://www.aaalla.org/

Total Membership in 1999:
103 members, with membership open to any members of the AAA (American Anthropological Association) who are interested in issues related to the anthropology of Latinos or who are members of Latino communities.

Type of Organization: This is a professional organization which focuses on Latino issues and attempts to foster greater community interaction and communication.

Essential Information


Date founded:
ALLA became an official section of the American Anthropological Association in November of 1990.

Newsletter or Journal: Their publications include a column in the Anthropological Newsletter and also a newsletter which is posted on their website (created in November of 1996).

Annual Membership fees: To join ALLA if you are already a member of the AAA: member $20.00 and student $10.00.  To join the AAA AND ALLA: member $100.00 and student $45.00

Affiliation with other groups: ALLA has worked in conjunction with other organizations such as: the Society for Latin American Anthropology, Society for Applied Anthropology, Assciation of Black Anthropologists, and the Society for the Anthropology of North America.

Listserve or other internet resources: At the ALLA website, there are addresses to many other Latino links such as: Chicano Counterculture, Indigenous Mexico, International Migration studies, Language Services, Latin American Studies, and Latina and Latino internet directories among many others.

Contact Address:
Office of the President
Bldg. 10, (CTTL/SLL)
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2060
or fax to: 650-725-1660

e-mail:mailto:president@aaalla.org


Prizes, Projects, or other Special Programs
ALLA awards a Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes a career of achievement in the practice of the anthropological service to and/or study of the U.S. Latina and Latino population. See the ALLA website for more information.
Also conducted is the ALLA Student Paper Competition which is designed to recognize the best student paper on any facet of anthropology which deals with issues pertaining to Latino communities in the United States (the award is $200.00).

A Brief History of ALLA
The Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists became an official section of the American Anthropological Association at the November 1990 AAA meetings in New Orleans. However, a few years prior to their joining the AAA, there was talk of creating a society for Chicano anthropologists. Although Chicanos seemed to be in the majority, members realized that there were other Latino anthropologists out there who could both benefit from and contribute to anthropological issues relating to Latinos. These initial meetings contributed to the creation of ALLA. The first Executive Committee included: Tom Weaver (President), Dept. of Anthropology, U. of Arizona; Margarita Melville, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, UC-Berkeley; Sylvia Rodriguez, Dept. of Anthropology, U. New Mexico; Rosa Torruellas, Centro de Estudios Puertoriquienos, CUNY; Diego Vigil, Dept. of Anthropology, U. Southern California; and Patricia Zavella, Community Studies Dept., U. California.
Today, ALLA not only has a column in the AAA newsletter, but they also contribute to AAA meetings by participating in conferences while also producing their own newsletter on their website.



About ALLA
ALLA is an organization that reflects both its members personal interests and their professional areas of study. It is geared toward taking a closer look at issues relating to Latino communities in the United States, while at the same time encouraging anthropological research contributions by Latinos and Latinas. As a Latina graduate student, I saw this project as a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the "community" (or lack there of) for Latino and Latina anthropologists.

I began my research on ALLA with several questions in mind: what is ALLA's location as a group in the intellectual and social space of anthropology; what ideas tie ALLA together and set them apart from other organizations; How are most members employed; why do people join ALLA and what types of benefits or drawbacks do they encounter; and finally, what are the top 3 issues facing Latino anthropologists today? (Unfortunately, I did not receive the type of response that I had hoped for, in fact, only 6 out of the 103 members replied to my several inquiries, an issue I will return to later). The best source of information pertaining to ALLA can be found at their website, where issues such as: Latinos in technology, access to the internet for Latino communities, affirmative action, and bilingual education are addressed. ALLA seems to be focusing most of its attention on social issues facing Latino communities in the United States. Topics gaining attention include urban issues, education, work, crime, health care, and immigration issues as well as many others. The ALLA website does an efficient job at addressing some of these key issues while also providing links to other sites on the web which pertain to Latino concerns.

Besides the ALLA website, I received minimal information back from members pertaining to my multiple inquiries. This left me both disappointed and dismayed, but at the same time, I began to reflect upon some of the issues facing Latino and Latina anthropologists that may have contributed toward this lack of response from ALLA members. Across the nation in today's universities, many academics of color are forced to act as "minority spokespersons" by carrying the burden of being overloaded with work (the "burro" syndrome)---participating in mainstream conferences, serving on committees, publishing, working in their communities, teaching, and mentoring students. This large amount of emphasis placed on service detracts from research, teaching, and publishing, which are weighted more heavily when it comes to securing a job and tenure. Thus, the question arises of whether or not creating such an organization as ALLA detracts from or adds to this problem of being overworked and underrepresented within academia. Would just participating within the AAA or the Society for Latin American Anthropologists instead of creating yet another smaller group have helped or hindered Latino anthropologists? I believe that as a minority fighting for the opportunity to be heard within the larger academic group of the AAA, Latino anthropologists could only be given so many opportunities to be heard. By exploring the capabilities and assets within a smaller, but more cohesive group, ALLA has the chance to address issues specifically related to Latinos in the United States. I believe this is exactly what ALLA is attempting to do, as a young organization; working to build coalitions, share information with Latino communities and foster further research and dialogue among scholars and activists.

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