We created five special sub-themes particular to the idea of institutions. These are: Institutions and Justice; Institutions and Violence; Institutions and Migration; Institutions, Race and Racism; and Youth: Creating and Navigating Institutions. We are pleased to say that these special sub-themes have generated fifty-eight panels and roundtables. We encourage you to attend a panel or roundtable outside your discipline or immediate area of interest to explore the wealth of the ASA and we hope that you will seek out these sub-theme panels at the annual meeting.

We also draw your attention to this year’s Board Sponsored panels. They highlight issues rooted in politics, history, policy, and the humanities. In the new political climate – institutional crisis, the reconfiguration of public space and civic values – the ASA Board has been outspoken in defending the value of scholarly work, human rights, and academic freedom, both in- and outside the borders of the U.S. ASA members have likewise organized a number of panels and roundtables that respond directly, and sometimes more elliptically, to the current political crisis. As we celebrate the organization’s sixty years we think this affirms a renewed commitment to working at, and expanding, the interface between scholarship, institutions of higher education, and society at large.

If you did not have time to submit a panel or roundtable in time for the March 15, 2017 deadline you can still participate. You have two options. First, introduced in 2016, the AfricaNow! Sessions accommodate late-breaking issues that emerged subsequent to the close of the Call for Proposals. AfricaNow! Sessions offer the opportunity to focus on topical and newly emergent questions. These sessions are 60-75 minutes each. Second, this year’s Annual Meeting will include Flash presentations. These presentations, first introduced in at the “Innovation, Transformation and Sustainable Futures in Africa” conference held jointly with the American Anthropological Association in June 2016 in Dakar, are meant to be brief and provocative. Flash presentations include 15 image-rich slides presented rapidly with only 20 seconds per slide. With a total of only five minutes per presentation these Flash presentations are designed to be engaging, informative and stimulating. We encourage you to consider participating in these exciting alternative presentations. Look for the call for the Flash presentations and for AfricaNow! presentations in August.

Finally, we’d like to take a moment to thank all the sub-theme chairs who reviewed proposals, the ASA secretariat for the tireless efforts to help us create the program, the Board for their suggestions and sponsorship of panels and to all the members who submitted such fantastic and exciting proposals. We look forward to seeing you in Chicago in November.

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