Dear ASA members:

 I write to you as President-Elect on behalf of the 2020 Program Committee and its three Co-Chairs in response to the conditions we are facing as a socially engaged, member-driven scholarly organization.  

 The Program Committee for the 2020 Annual Meeting met at the end of March and agreed that the work of the 2020 Annual Meeting must begin now.  

 In urgent embrace of the 2020 theme “Creativity Within Revolt,” members of the Program Committee have begun organizing a series of recorded, public-facing Freedom Courses that will be available, free of charge, on the ASA YouTube channel.  

 These facilitated, accessible conversations among organizers, activists, scholars, elders, artists, students, teachers, and others will address themes like the following:

  1. “Mutual Aid” is a People’s Movement:  Beyond Philanthropy, Charity, and Dependence on the (Police) State
  2. Pandemics, Territorial Closures, and Colonial Structuring 
  3. (Contingent) Academic Labor in the Wake of COVID-19
  4. Prison/Jail/Detention Walls Be Damned: Responses to COVID-19 Behind Bars
  5. Elders, Ageism and Ableism in the COVID-19 pandemic
  6. Abolitionist Responses to Anti-Asian Violence:  “Chinese Coronavirus” and Beyond
  7. Graduate Students and the Post-Pandemic Academy

If any of you want to organize Freedom Courses of your own, please reach out!  My email is:

We anticipate these recorded discussions will be useful for classroom teaching (K-12/college and beyond), community-building, organizing, political education, and kitchen table discussions during this time of profound vulnerability.  We also hope colleagues will use the Freedom Courses as tools for remote/distance teaching, if for no other reason than to give themselves brief respite from the unexpected work of lecturing to their virtual classrooms.

Finally, as the ASA President-Elect, i am committed to honoring the extraordinary labors of the 2020 Program Committee and protecting the integrity of the panels, papers, and experimental sessions submitted by hundreds of us. Regarding the question of whether the 2020 Annual Meeting can be held in person, we recognize the extraordinary and asymmetrical vulnerabilities created—and exacerbated—by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, ASA leadership is considering contingencies for the Annual Meeting in the event that holding it in person is not feasible.  As of now, the Baltimore meeting is on.

The Program Committee and i agree that we must work with the ASA Executive Council to consider contingencies if they become necessary. We also agree that we are not interested in substituting a large scale “virtual conference” as an alternative to the in-person Annual Meeting.  The whole reason we go to the ASA Annual Meeting is to be with each other!  ASA membership will be the first informed if any decisions are made regarding Baltimore 2020.

 In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other.


Dylan Rodríguez, President-Elect
Erica Edwards, Program Committee Co-Chair
Martha Escobar, Program Committee Co-Chair
Antonio Tiongson, Jr., Program Committee Co-Chair

Posted for ASA Office in Annual Meeting
Post date: May 13, 2020

Community announcements and events are services that are offered by the ASA to support the organizing efforts of critical constituency groups. They do not reflect the decisions or actions of the association’s governance bodies, the National Council or Executive Committee. Questions should be directed to the committee, caucus, or chapter that has authored and posted this notice.