Its probably been a long time coming, but I first noticed it in my corner of the anthropology universe back in 2004 when the UNITE-Here strike dislocated many AAA sub-sections. As a result, some sections experimented with smaller, independent meetings. Everyone enjoyed these much more than the AAA and many sections resolved to continue holding these smaller meetings. Some sections had already been doing this for a while, but it seems that since 2004 every section has its own mini-conference and a lot more energy goes into organizing those mini-conferences than the section events at the AAA.
In addition to all these section meetings, there are also numerous anthropology conferences held outside of the US which many of my colleagues enjoy more than the AAA. In July I’m going to IUAES in Kunming (China), which will be my first big non-AAA anthropology conference.
While its great that there are so many options, it also makes it hard to keep up. I can barely make it to one or two anthropology conferences a year. So I have a questions for everyone: What’s your favorite general anthropology conference? I am specifically asking about general-interest anthropology conferences that any cultural/social anthropologist would be interested in. I know there are great regional and subfield conferences, but I’m thinking more about AES/SANA, SCA, IUAES and other less specialized conferences. Or perhaps you still prefer the AAA?