2012 Meeting

SACC Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA April 25-28, 2012

It is my pleasure to invite you to San Diego for the SACC annual meeting in 2012. While I can’t guarantee sunny skies in April, I will promise moderate temperatures. San Diego is a visitor’s destination, and, as such, may entice you to stay an extra few days to take advantage of what the city has to offer, including Sea World and Legoland for families. San Diego has also been named one of America’s best beer cities, with craft brewing complementing the rising exciting local food scene. As the earliest California settlement and home to Kumeyaay people, San Diego is rich in history. Today, it is home to a rich and vibrant immigrant population of Mexicans, Filipinos, Chinese, and Iraqis, among other ethnicities. The early Spanish and more recent Mexican influence can be felt all over the city, from taco shops to street names, architecture to art. San Diego is much more than a surf town. I hope to provide some cultural and culinary experiences that are unexpected in a town where, according to the locals, there are “No Bad Days.”

Our hotel, the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown, overlooks the bay and Seaport Village, a shopping and dining area, on one side, and the edge of the hip Gaslamp Quarter on the other. Each suite has two rooms, two televisions, microwave, fridge and coffee maker for $149. Up to four people may share a room for $169. We have been offered free wireless access both in the rooms and meeting spaces. Starbucks is on site with free wireless as well. The hotel is pet friendly with a deposit. Click here for hotel registration

Getting to the hotel is easy whichever way you decide to arrive. It is 3 miles (5-10 minutes) from the San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field), three blocks from the Santa Fe train station and local Trolley depot, and three blocks from the cruise port! A taxi from the airport will cost about $15.00. Shuttles are also available for reservation. We recommend Cloud 9/Super Shuttle. On Wednesday, April 25th, Tim Gross will teach a pre-conference Flintknapping workshop, called “Round rocks and sharp edges: an introduction to stone tool making.” Please register early as there are limited spaces available. Materials will be provided; please bring your own heavy duty gloves and protective eye wear. The cost to participate is $25.

That afternoon, the Executive Board meets from 3-5 pm at the hotel, preceding our Welcome Reception from 5:30-7:30 pm. All are welcome.

Thursday, April 26th begins our first official day of the conference. Help yourself to free hot breakfast and stop by the registration table in the morning. After several hours of paper presentations we welcome our featured speaker for this year’s SACC conference, the world’s foremost research authority on orangutans, Dr. Biruté Galdikas. Dr. Galdikas spends half the year at her orangutan research and conservation center at Tanjung Puting National Park, in Indonesian Borneo. We are lucky to have caught her during her annual North American teaching and touring season. Dr. Galdikas will speak on her forty-year experience in Borneo and the important topic of orangutan conservation.

After lunch in the hotel atrium, several teams of SACC members will be leading Mini-Workshops on the topics of “Getting a Teaching Job” and “Running a Field School.” If you are seeking employment, or have considered starting a field school in cultural anthropology or archeology, then you will want to sign up for these free sessions. A third mini-workshop and demo will be led by the founder of dedoose, a web-based qualitative analysis application and mixed methods research tool.

Also in the afternoon will be a one-hour Vendor Fair with anthropology publishers, products and ethnic crafts. Pick up a ticket at the vendor fair for an opportunity drawing at the Business Meeting to follow. Dinner is on your own. Fortunately, the hotel is near many excellent restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown and Little Italy. Recommendations and menus will be provided.

On Friday, April 27th, after hot breakfast and a morning of papers, we will have another excellent speaker, Dr. Bonnie Bade, Chair of the Anthropology department at Cal State University, San Marcos. She’ll speak on the topic of Collaborative Anthropology in North County San Diego and emphasize her work with local indigenous migrant and tribal communities of the region, especially in medical anthropology.

Lunch and afternoon snack today will highlight two small, locally-owned businesses: gourmet box lunches from the MIHO Gastrotruck and gourmet popsicles from Viva Pops. We’ll enjoy lunch al fresco at Seaport Village, just across the street from our hotel and pops at a break in the afternoon’s papers. This is an excellent reason to come to afternoon papers! Dinner on your town tonight.

Saturday, April 28th, is our field trip day, beginning early with a trip to Old Town, San Diego on the San Diego Trolley. Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. When we arrive, the ghosts will be waiting at “America’s Most Haunted House,” the historic Whaley House. Out back, the archeologists will be waiting, at which time we’ll learn about an on-going historical excavation on the Whaley House grounds from Dr. Seth Mallios, Chair of the Anthropology department at San Diego State University. This project is a multi-year archaeology survey and excavation of the historic Whaley House well and privy. SDSU hosts annual summer archaeological field schools at the site and produces annual reports regarding the site’s stratigraphy and artifacts.

You’ll have some free time to explore and shop in Old Town, before lunch at “Casa Guadalajara,” an excellent Mexican restaurant. After lunch, we board a luxury bus and make our way to the Institute for Conservation Research at the Beckman Center. The Institute, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly, Wild Animal Park) houses six laboratories and six research divisions in its Silver-level LEED certified facility. The facility is dedicated to making ground-breaking innovations in science and technology that helps solve complex conservation problems. This is the largest zoo-based multidisciplinary research effort in the world. More than 150 scientists carry out research vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats in over 35 countries. The facility houses a Genetics Division which is home to the one-of-a-kind Frozen Zoo. Containing more than 8,000 living tissue samples, this genetic resource is an important source of samples for scientific studies benefitting people and wildlife. The Reproductive Physiology Division uses innovative technologies to assist in the reproduction of endangered species. There is a Wildlife Disease Laboratory working to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.

After a tour of the facilities’ labs, we’ll gather in the conference room to hear a presentation by Dr. Jay Vavra, award-winning science teacher at High Tech High, Point Loma. Jay does inspiring work with his students, including developing a DNA barcode system for identifying bushmeat in collaboration with Oliver Ryder of the Beckman Center, and visiting Tanzania with students to understand the context and applications of their work. He has just finished spending several months in Mozambique with the great biologist E.O. Wilson, with whom he is working on an online biology curriculum called E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth.

An extra workshop will be offered at this time for the first 36 registrants at the Beckman Center education lab called the Bushmeat Crisis module. Participants will pre-register for a $25 fee to spend 45 minutes learning about DNA barcodes and identifying dried bushmeat samples with digital tools. All participants will receive a DVD with Bushmeat Crisis curriculum. Those conference attendees not participating in the Bushmeat Crisis module will move on to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park). The Park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment and one of its most notable features is the Africa Tram which explores the expansive African exhibits. These free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes, and rhinos. The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, the most successful such program in the United States.

The first bus that leaves the Beckman Center will have 2 hours to spend in the park; workshop participants will have 1 hour. The final evening’s banquet will take place at the Safari Park’s covered outdoor Mombasa Island Pavilion, overlooking Mombasa Lagoon. The lagoon is in the center of a simulated Congolese fishing village, surrounded by paths, wooden walkways. This peaceful and scenic watering hole is home to pelicans, storks, shoebills, and ducks, along with migratory bird visitors like herons and egrets. We return to Old Town on the bus at 7:30 pm, just enough time for one last night on the town!

Laura Gonzalez, SACC President