Alex Barker Is New President-elect of American Anthropological Association

Alex Barker
Jordan Yount
News Source: 
College of Arts & Science
Museum of Art and Archaeology

Members of the world’s largest scholarly anthropological organization have elected the director of the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology as their new leader. Alex Barker, professor of archaeology, takes office as the vice president/president-elect of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) November 22. Barker will serve as vice president/president-elect for two years and become president of the association at the conclusion of the group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2017.

Barker has been director of the Museum of Art and Archaeology since 2006.

“There’s an enormous amount of overlap, because the museum is all about cultural heritage and disciplines like visual anthropology and archaeology, which are all part of the larger discipline of anthropology,” Barker says. “Anthropology as a whole offers critical insights into a range of pressing issues confronting modern society, so it certainly fits in well with my role at the museum.”

The AAA was founded in 1902 “to promote the science of anthropology, to stimulate and coordinate the efforts of American anthropologists, to foster local and other societies devoted to anthropology, to serve as a bond among American anthropologists and anthropological organizations present and prospective, and to publish and encourage the publication of matter pertaining to anthropology,” according to the association website. The association represents a range of subdisciplines, including ethnography and cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological and medical anthropology, and linguistics. The AAA currently has more than 12,500 members, includes 40 different scholarly societies, and publishes more than 20 scholarly journals. Past presidents include Frank Boas, a German-born anthropologist who pioneered the study of anthropology in the United States, and Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist who made frequent appearances as an author and speaker during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Museum of Art and Archaeology was founded in 1957 as the Study History for Art History and Archaeology and became the Museum of Art and Archaeology in 1961. It had been housed in Pickard Hall on the Francis Quadrangle until closing in September 2013. The museum reopened at its temporary home in Mizzou North on April 19.

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