ATIG Convener’s 2015 Report

Dear ATIG Members,

Thank you to everyone who attended our ATIG business meeting on Saturday of the recent AAA meetings. Besides reviewing past business, it was a very productive and positive discussion of our future. I want to recap the major issues and topics before the semester ends and we turn to our holiday hideouts for recuperation.

1. Old Business: Different members of the board discussed last year’s achievements, which were organized in celebration of 40th anniversary of the first AAA tourism panel. Without going in detail, I simply want to add my thanks to and deep appreciation for: Michael DiGiovine for his pivotal orchestration of panels and activities for the meetings, Board Members Kelly LaFramboise and Rachel Giraudo for their essential contributions and hard work to making last year such a success, honorary board member Peg Swain for her decisive interventions in our process as a board, Mary Mostafanezhad, out going board member and founder of ATIG, for her inspiration to create an anthropology tourism group, her creation of our initial website, as well as for the highly successful book display and give-away at the reception. Special thanks go to Christine Preble for her overtime work on all aspects of board business, especially to create such a successful and memorable reception success and to Naomi Leite, Co-Convener, for crucial collaboration in the work and burden of all ATIG business.

2. Current Business, I: Regarding this year’s meetings, Michael led the board in thanking the Program Review Committee for their work in the evaluation of panel submissions and in congratulating the organizers and panelists of the ATIG Invited Session. He and the board encouraged member submissions for the 2016 invited session. The same review committee was asked to remain in office for the upcoming process. More encouragement from Michael for next invited session and more details on programming soon to come.

3. Current Business, II: Ronda Brulotte was introduced as the new board member replacing Mary in the position of Communications Chair. She oversaw and worked hard on the transfer of the original website, paid for out of pocket by board members, to the new site hosted by the AAA. Thank you Ronda for this tremendous work effort! Ronda currently is doing both jobs of website and listserv. She raised the issue of how the website can be most effectively used for benefit of members. Ronda will provide more news and discussion of this and related issues.

4. Current Business, III: Rachel Giraudo discussed the highly successful Cannabis Cultures: Tour, Discussion & Reception that was held on Wednesday, November 18 of the Denver meetings (a collaboration between ATIG and APLA). A number of members in attendance were very appreciative and called for another event for the next 2016 meetings in Minneapolis. We are certainly encouraging any ATIG member to propose ideas to the board for a project in which they would like to take a principal and primary lead. We are anticipating more in depth description of the event from Rachel to be posted to the website. Keep a look out.

5. Current Business, IV: (a) Rachel also discussed the Board efforts to design a new logo. Further details and information forthcoming. (b) Report on Conference Taskforce is pending. (c) Discussion of new publication venues with new book series at Ashgate, Routledge and Lexington.

6. New Business I: ATIG Renewal. As an interest group we have to vote for renewal of the IG every three years, i.e., for renewal request to be submitted by March 2016. The board decided to conduct the vote for renewal in the same mechanism as the board elections.

7. New Business II: Elections. We are now completing the first three years of ATIG first elected Board. The completion of the terms is at the end of the last day of the AAA meetings in 2016. The out-going convener remains on the board as ex-officio member until end of meetings 2017. This past spring we voted on the election of Ronda Brulotte to complete the term of Communication Chair; in order to maintain continuity of the board and to maintain the integrity of the vision for the website that Ronda brings to ATIG, we feel we should remain in term until end of meetings 2017. The board also made the decision to eliminate the position of co-convener on the assumption a) that board responsibilities are dramatically reduced from 2014 and b) that the newly elected board members can assume the workload previously carried by Naomi Leite in that role. Furthermore, the board at its discretion can appoint or create taskforces and committees for specific tasks or even determine to add additional board positions at a future date. Thus, the positions that form the ballot in spring 2017 are:

• Convener

• Program Chair

• Organization & Events Chair

• Member at Large (undesignated)

• Member at Large (student representative)

8. New Business III: Voting Process. AAA does not provide support for IG elections. Thus, the board will create a voting mechanism via an online service such as Survey Monkey. We will use the same self-nomination format that is used by AAA sections as defined by AAA. The board decided against having a vetting process and therefore will accept all self-nominations as submitted for each position. A separate email announcement of self-nomination process will be posted on listserv and the website.

Discussion. (A) ATIG has an interesting position of being recognized formally by the AAA without much power and no access to finances. However, our membership has stabilized at a high number, that is 553 as of December 2015; this high number has enticed a few sections to try to court our membership in order to boost their own numbers specifically in order to avoid the lose of an invited session based on new AAA rules for such. SLACA and Central States raised the possibility of partnering with ATIG. Given the current AAA revising of rules for panels dedicated to sections, SLACA, for example, offered ATIG a “guaranteed” invited panel on tourism in Latin America in exchange if 50 ATIG members were to register as members in SLACA by the time AAA counts membership to determine the number of invited sessions assigned to each section. Of course these ATIG members would have to be persons who are not currently a member of SLACA. Central States also asked us to consider ATIG members joining their section to bolster its section status in the AAA. Given the moratorium of creation of new sections, some ATIG members liked this idea, and went so far as to suggest a merger of the section and interest group. Further discussion is necessary of how we might generate benefits from our membership numbers.

Thank you for your membership and participation in ATIG!

Quetzil Castañeda
Convener, ATIG