Read the constitution below (last updated in 2013), or download a PDF version of the constitution here.
To read the previous (2010) constitution, click here.
The World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA) is a network of national and international associations and organizations that aims to promote worldwide communication and cooperation in anthropology.
In pursuit of this objective WCAA is concerned with recognizing and debating a diversity of views and perspectives within world anthropologies whilst also seeking to identify and disseminate common concerns and conclusions. WCAA acts as a forum for communication of news, ideas and knowledge, and as a network facilitating the exchange and flow of information. This includes ethical codes and global discussion about how the profession can best respond to contemporary challenges that are themselves often the product of forces and relations beyond the level of the individual nation-state. WCAA aims to strengthen the circulation of ideas and knowledge by facilitating the dissemination of anthropological work in a multiplicity of languages to improve knowledge of world anthropologies, counteract the hegemony of English-based knowledge production, and to enable different local publics to learn about the results of anthropological research in their own languages. WCAA-sponsored panels are to be organized at meetings of member associations and its website has been developed to make it an effective instrument for providing up-to-date information and facilitating scholarly exchange. WCAA seeks to promote international networks of postgraduate students.
WCAA works to improve the profile and image of the discipline through various forms of public engagement. These include a focus on deepening and broadening anthropology’s presence in the education system and encouraging anthropologists to contribute to public debates on issues such as multiculturalism, cultural diversity and immigration, by seeking to clarify the meaning of key terms on which anthropologists hold expertise and by practicing appropriate forms of political advocacy. The WCAA itself seeks, when there is a consensus among its member associations, to issue public statements that reflect anthropological knowledge on issues such as the rights of indigenous and minority groups, as well as draw attention to arbitrary acts by states and others towards such groups and to threats to the lives and welfare of anthropologists and others. WCAA also issues statements on matters of worldwide professional concern. These include the impacts and potential biases of academic evaluation processes on the development of anthropology and of changes in funding models and the institutional organization of teaching and research in different national contexts. In some cases, such developments raise ethical concerns and pose threats to academic freedom.
Its primary objective is to promote:
- the discipline of anthropology in an international context, with full recognition of the inherent plurality of its constituent national, linguistic and regional traditions;
- cooperation and the sharing of information among anthropologists worldwide and between the different anthropological communities represented by its member associations;
- jointly organized events of scientific debate and cooperation in research activities and dissemination of anthropological knowledge;
Each member association and organization will undertake to designate and authorize one International Delegate, who will typically be - but does not have to be - the current president (or equivalent Chief Executive officer) of the association, to represent the association on the Council.
- The Council, made up of the international delegates of all the member associations and organizations, will be the decision-making body of the WCAA.
- Each International Delegate will be entitled and encouraged to vote, stand for elections, make suggestions and contribute to the activities of the WCAA as appropriate.
- Where voting is via email, votes must be cast within two weeks of being requested to do so. Any failure to vote in due time will be considered a technical abstention (rather than a formal abstention). Majority rules will apply to the votes that have been cast in due time, including formal abstentions, rather than to the total number of members eligible to vote. In elections and for making important decisions a quorum of at least two thirds of the members of the Council will be required.
- Apart from serving as representatives, the role of the International Delegates will also be to promote the exchange of information between the WCAA and their respective member associations or organizations.
- Each member association will also nominate an Alternative Contact Person to help ensure that vital communications are not missed during periods when an International delegate is not contactable. All communications to the International Delegate will also be copied to his or her alternate.
- Member associations must inform the WCAA each time a new President and/or International Delegate has been elected and provide contact details.
Two of the International Delegates, or persons nominated by the Presidents of member organisations, will be elected by the Council to take on the roles of WCAA Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.
- The Chairperson will serve for a period of two years.
- The Deputy Chairperson will serve for a period of two years and thereafter as the next Chairperson for a period of two years.
- A new Deputy Chairperson and two ordinary members of the Organising Committee (see Article 5) will be elected by, and from among the International Delegates in the WCAA’s biennial meetings or alternatively through an ITC-based vote that begins within seven days after such a meeting and for which voting must have been completed within a further seven days
- Where there is a single candidate for a particular office, a two thirds majority vote is required for election to office.
- Where there are two or more candidates, a simple majority is required for election to office.
- In cases where there are three or more candidates, an instant run-off voting procedure will be adopted. It will require those voting to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate obtains a simple majority of first preferences votes, the first preference votes for the candidate with the fewest first preference votes will be replaced by the second preference votes for that candidate, and those votes added to the original first preference votes for the other candidate/s, that procedure being continued until there is a candidate with a simple majority of votes.
- If there is a tie, the incumbent chair will have a casting vote.
- All international delegates and members of the Organizing Committee (see Article 5) will be entitled to nominate candidates or, with the exception of the incumbent chair and deputy chair, to self-nominate for election to any office within the WCAA, whenever there is a vacancy and an election.
An Organizing Committee made up of the WCAA Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and four other International Delegates from different world regions will be elected to ensure the efficient management of the WCAA’s business. In addition, a treasurer, a secretary and, if deemed appropriate by a majority of WCAA members at each biennial meeting, an additional undesignated member, will be appointed. The treasurer will be appointed by the voting members of the Organising Committee on the recommendation of the Chair; the secretary and the undesignated member will be appointed (or re-appointed) by WCAA members attending each biennial meeting, on the recommendation of the voting members of the Organising Committee.
- The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the WCAA (see Article 4) are simultaneously the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Organizing Committee
- The four other, ordinary members of the Organizing Committee will serve for a period of four years.
- Two ordinary members of the first Organizing Committee elected in 2008 will rotate off and be replaced in two years time (at the 2010 election), and thereafter, two ordinary members will rotate off and be replaced at every subsequent biannual election. The two longest serving ordinary members will normally rotate off first, unless another member chooses to step down instead.
- Office holders within the Organizing Committee, under the leadership of the Chairperson, are charged with the responsibility to advance the existing initiatives and administer the routine affairs of the WCAA, as well as providing leadership in proposing new initiatives and in facilitating effective WCAA responses to unforeseen internal issues, external requests or world events.
- The Organizing Committee or its Chairperson do(es) not have authority to act or make decisions on behalf of the Council without the prior approval of at least a simple majority of international delegates. In some cases, as specified elsewhere in this constitution, a larger majority or unanimous support may be required.
- Any office holder within the WCAA can be relieved of his or her office at any time if at least four fellow members of the Organizing Committee OR a simple majority of International Delegates agree that it is necessary and in the best interest of the WCAA for this to be done. A motion supported by at least a) two members of the Organizing Committee, or b) four International Delegates, is required to initiate such proceedings.
Past members of the Council who wish to volunteer may continue to serve the WCAA as members of an Advisory Board for a period of three years.
- The Advisory Board may be consulted by the Organizing Committee as and when appropriate, and the opinions of its members reported to the Council.
Whenever appropriate, members of any of the WCAA associations and organizations will participate in the conferences of the other associations and organizations under the following terms:
- If membership is required to attend the conference, this is waived for members of the other associations.
- If an association offers its members a discount on registration fees, it may consider offering the same discount to members of the other associations.
The President (or equivalent) and/or an International Delegate of member associations and organizations will be welcome to the other members’ regular conferences and, whenever appropriate, with the waving or subsidizing of registration fees.
Members of the WCAA will undertake to promote events aimed at showcasing the activities of other member associations and organizations in their regular conferences.
A WCAA website has been instituted by agreement among the founding members. One member of the Organizing Committee will be responsible for overseeing the development and maintenance of the website.
Members who have websites will
- prominently display their membership of the WCAA on their websites.
- undertake to create a link to the WCAA website.
- whenever possible, create links to the other associations’ and organizations’ websites.
Members will encourage debate on issues of relevance to anthropology and neighboring disciplines by such means as the organization of joint events (conferences, symposia, summer schools, etc.) by a number of member associations and organizations.
The WCAA may produce joint statements on issues of common relevance to its members. These have to be approved unanimously by all International Delegates who have responded within a period of two weeks after the matter has been tabled. Any formal abstentions should be noted in such statements.
Members will assist in the international exchange of information about research programs, researchers and research opportunities for students and professional researchers.
- Members will endeavor to promote and facilitate international networking by post-graduate research students.
Application for membership in the WCAA is open to all associations and organizations of anthropology.
- Associations and organizations who wish to join, do so in writing to the WCAA Chairperson describing their activities, enclosing their constitution and where relevant their code of ethics in English, and indicating that they subscribe to the terms of the present constitution.
- For a new member to be accepted a positive vote is required from two thirds of the presidents of member associations and organizations.
After inquiry from the Chairperson of the Organizing Committee, an association’s and organization’s membership of the WCAA will lapse at the end of a calendar year in which it fails to designate an International Delegate.
Any amendments to the present agreement should be reached through a consensus of member associations and organizations and accepted by a majority vote of two thirds of the Presidents or equivalent of the member associations and organizations.
The WCAA is not responsible or liable for any of the activities of any branch of ASF – Antropologos Sem Fronteiras / Anthropologists without Borders, of member associations or of their respective members, nor for the unauthorized actions of WCAA office holders.
Osaka, April, 2013.