The Association for Black Anthropologists (ABA) was founded in 1970 by a small group of intellectuals who sought to break down barriers that impeded their full participation in the discipline of Anthropology. By creating scholarship that linked anthropological theory to struggles for social justice, these elders transformed anthropology and helped create generations of intellectual leaders. ABA seeks to ensure that people studied by anthropologists are not only objects of study but active makers and/or participants in their own history. In a larger sense, we intend to highlight situations of exploitation, oppression and discrimination.

Further, ABA’s objectives are to:

  • analyze and critique social science theories that misrepresent the reality of exploited groups while at the same time construct more adequate theories to interpret the dynamics of oppression.
  • encourage the participation of students of anthropology, recruiting Black graduate students, enrolling Black graduate students to the ABA and mentoring students involved in ABA.
  • establish firmer connections and scholarly exchange among Black anthropologists, especially African anthropologists.


For more information on the history of ABA, check out:

The Association of Black Anthropologists:
A Brief History
 PDF (1,417 kB)
Author: Ira E. Harrison
Source: Anthropology Today, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 17-21
Publisher(s): Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Stable URL: