May 19, 2020
Dear members of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference:
I am writing to update you about the SEAC annual meeting scheduled for October 28-31, 2020, in Durham, NC. I suspect you have been expecting this message, as we all grapple with a dramatically changed world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, May 11, the SEAC Executive Committee (“the Board”) voted unanimously (one member unable to attend), via Zoom, to postpone the 2020 annual meeting until October, 2021. This was a difficult decision, reached only after extended email, video conference, and phone discussions among the board members and with the Durham organizers, as well as the organizers of the meetings scheduled in Little Rock in 2021 and Chattanooga in 2022. We believe this is the appropriate decision to protect the health and safety of our membership and the future of SEAC. There are financial implications for SEAC whether we hold or do not hold the 2020 annual meeting, but we think they can be best managed by postponing the meeting until 2021. Given the continuing uncertainty about public health developments through fall 2020 and early 2021, we think this is the best choice in a difficult situation. This is the first interruption in SEAC annual meetings since the organization met in 1952, following a hiatus caused by World War II. I want to express my thanks especially to the Durham, Little Rock, and Chattanooga organizers, all of whom have done some heavy lifting in getting to this solution.
There are a lot of moving parts to this decision. In this message, I want to provide the key points. Further information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks via email, social media, and the SEAC web site.
• SEAC will postpone the 2020 annual meeting for one year to October, 2021, at the Durham Convention Center. We will use the same hotels that were planned for 2020, and we are working to retain the same hotel rates. Once the new contracts are signed, I will let you know the exact dates. It is likely that the meeting will be held over a Sun.-Wed., not during the traditional end-of-the-week time slot. It will be different, but the world is different.
• With wonderful cooperation from the local venues, we will push the Little Rock meeting to 2022 and the recently confirmed Chattanooga meeting to 2023.
• The SEAC Executive Committee decided that we want to make all the awards that we can this year, even if we do not meet face-to-face. We will not hold a competition for the Student Paper Prize, but we intend to announce 2020 recipients of the Patty Jo Watson Prize, the Charles Hudson Award, the C.B. Moore Award, the Public Outreach Grant, the Native American Speakers Fund, and the Lifetime Achievement Award. These will be announced digitally in some way not yet fully worked out (but see https://www.saa.org/quick-nav/saa-media-room/saa-news/2020/04/24/saa-announces-2020-award-recipients for one possible model, from the SAA). We will also make presentations in person in 2021. Anyone who was a student at the time of the scheduled 2020 meeting will be eligible to submit a paper for the Student Paper Prize in 2021, even if she/he/they has graduated prior to the 2021 meeting.
• Our goal is to establish a new page on the SEAC website that will gather all the relevant information about these changes to the annual meeting. This will also provide a locale for posting award recognitions, reports from the officers and committees, and obituary memorials that are normally read at the annual business meeting. I urge you to continue to inform me of any deaths of archaeological colleagues and friends in our region.
• SEAC bylaws require us to hold a business meeting each year. The Board is considering options to do so through some kind of online platform. The webpage for reports and resolutions, mentioned above, will help us streamline the process of conducting a 2020 annual business meeting and fulfilling the important purpose of communication among officers and members.
• SEAC will hold an election this fall. This is a very important election as the positions of President-elect, Secretary-elect, Journal Editor-elect, and one Executive Officer are all open. Nominations may be sent to the chair of the Nominations Committee, Amanda Regnier, at email@example.com. Please be receptive to invitations to stand for election, and please be alert to the digital ballot when it is distributed in early fall. Working together is essential to making SEAC a strong and effective organization.
• The most important thing you can do right now to support SEAC is to be sure to renew your membership and pay your dues. If you have already done so, I and members of the Board are grateful for your support of our journal, our awards and grants, and our future meetings. If you haven’t yet paid dues for 2020, you can renew, either online or by mail-in form, at: https://www.southeasternarchaeology.org/membership/membership-options/. As mentioned in a previous email, you can also help SEAC financially by opting out of receiving the paper journal in your member profile.
I will be back in touch as soon as possible with more details. Keep an eye on the SEAC website and social media accounts for more information. I know that I, and probably you, very much regret missing our annual meeting this year, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. In the meantime, I hope you and your families and friends are well and safe, and daily life is getting a bit more normal. I hope to see everyone in Durham in 2021.
Janet E. Levy
President, Southeastern Archaeological Conference