The Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS) is a four-field professional society that welcomes students and anyone who wants to promote anthropology. They are a section member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and have a main location focus in the heartland of the US. This site peaked my interest because their home page was just an annual conference meeting notice; it caused me to want to dig more in order to learn more about them instead of information placed as the first thing you see. CSAS caught my attention with being an open group that is noted for having an informal atmosphere to their meetings, which creates an environment to discuss and share ideas.
The CSAS was founded in 1921 under the name of Central Section of the American Anthropological Association, but was renamed in 1951 to its current name of CSAS. The purpose of CSAS is to, “…advance the study of anthropology and to encourage communication of the results of such study”. This is a very broad statement, but it does make room to allow communication and collaboration across several different areas of study in anthropology; such as, cultural and physical, archeology, linguistics, applied archeologists, and others who share an interest within the field.
CSAS is a very student friendly society that encourages everyone to participate, even at their national conference. They hold a paper competition in which both undergraduate and graduate students in any area of anthropology can submit a research paper to try and win an award and a three hundred dollar cash prize. I like the fact they are very encouraging to the younger people entering the field, and the having a competition can encourage more of them to actively participate and network with other professionals in the broad anthropology fields. They also offer two other awards to students in the form of scholarships to assist both undergraduate and graduate students, and they host an anthropology bowl in which students can test their knowledge in a competition.
To join CSAS you simply have to be a member of AAA, or join AAA, and apply to CSAS by paying a twenty dollar fee. However, for students they offer a free membership if the student is already a member of AAA. By joining you not only have access to the meetings, networking, the student activities mentioned earlier, but also access to a database of research papers that the society has been collecting since they started up to current projects.
They have abstracts of some of the 2016 papers and posters posted on the website to give you an idea of what some people are currently working on. There was one that stood out to me about consciousness, and how they are starting to use cognitive science to learn more about organisms and the “quality of being aware”. They don’t have the whole paper posted to the public, but it is interested to hear about new technologies and sciences being used in a different field to learn more about an older topic in a new light.