World Anthropological Union
WAU / World Anthropological Union
Year of Foundation: 1948 as IUAES
Year of Affiliation to CIPSH: 1949 as IUAES
President: Prof. Chandana Mathur as Chair of WCAA
WAU is a newly formed organisation that consists of two chambers: IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences) and WCAA (World Council of Anthropological Associations). WAU was created in September 2016, when the members of both IUAES and WCAA voted overwhelmingly in favour of formalised collaboration between their two organisations, and opted to form a new bicameral organisation with IUAES and WCAA chambers. Currently governed by an interim Steering Committee, WAU will formally begin to function in September 2017 when its Constitution and Operating Guidelines and Rules are finalised and go into effect.
The two chambers of WAU:
IUAES is a world organisation primarily of individual scholars working in the fields of anthropology and ethnology, but it is also of interest to archaeologists, linguists, biological and medical anthropologists, among others. Its aim is to enhance exchange and communication among scholars across world regions, in a collective effort to expand human knowledge, advance our understanding of human societies, and contribute to a sustainable future based on harmony between nature and culture. IUAES was established in 1948 (although the first IUAES World Congress took place earlier, in 1934 in London), and has long been a member of CIPSH.
IUAES provides a world forum for the discussion and dissemination of research through its periodic World Congresses, as well as the relatively more frequent Inter-Congresses, symposia and seminars. Through its Scientific Commissions, IUAES stimulates the convergence of research interests among anthropologists, and the dissemination of research findings through publications.
WCAA is a network of anthropological associations that likewise aims to promote worldwide communication and cooperation in anthropology. It grew out of the “world anthropologies” movement, an intellectual challenge to the longstanding dominance of Anglo-American anthropology and the marginalisation of anthropological traditions from elsewhere. Founded in 2004, WCAA now consists of more than fifty national, regional and international anthropological associations of all sizes from all continents. WCAA’s network of networks complements the mainly individual membership of IUAES, and coming together of the two organisations as WAU will help amplify the many voices of anthropology.
Anthropology and the humanities:
Writing in 1964, the noted anthropologist Eric Wolf observed, "Anthropology is both the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences". More than anything else, it is the distinctive disciplinary practice of ethnography that rightfully brings sociocultural anthropology into the humanities. Ethnography is not merely methodology for anthropologists – it is an encompassing mode of thought, observation, writing and argumentation. Thus, in its core disciplinary practices, in its baseline concerns regarding human diversity and cultural differences, and in its overall sensibility, anthropology remains closely allied to the humanities. The disciplines of the humanities, in their turn, have become increasingly interested in the modes and priorities of anthropological knowledge production. WAU’s continued involvement with CIPSH is an effective way of continuing this exchange at a global level.
(by Prof. Chandana Mathur)