The deadline for submitting Invited Symposium proposals is August 15, 2024.

Be sure to read the instructions below. Have all materials ready to enter prior to starting the submission process as you cannot save a draft and return to it later.


AABA hosts two types of research sessions at our annual meeting. The first type are Invited Symposia. These symposia are organized by one or two, sometimes three members of our professional community around a particularly timely/current theme. Invited Symposia are intended to provide the opportunity to bring together experts–biological anthropologists and others—to address an important topic or theme in a coherent fashion and to highlight new advances, topics and areas of emerging interest. All of the presenters in that symposium are invited by the organizer(s) to speak to that theme. The term “invited” refers to the presenters, not to the audience. All meeting attendees are strongly encouraged to attend these show-case events.

The second type of research session is referred to as a Contributed Session. These sessions are tailored around the abstracts that authors submit (“contribute”) for the October 15 submission deadline.

Below are the instructions for submitting a proposal for an Invited Symposium. Excellent symposia provide a diversity of speakers representing different institutions and perspectives, ranks, and demographics.  When constructing speaker lists, we encourage symposium organizers to include speakers who can effectively present the science and who serve to meet this ideal.

Either podium or poster symposia may be proposed. Tribute and memorial symposia should be submitted as poster symposia. Regardless of the format of a symposium, each symposium must include dedicated time for discussion and each is limited to no more than one half-day in length. 

Three Types of Invited Symposia

IMPORTANT: Tribute and memorial symposia, if accepted, will be designated as poster symposia.  See pages 32-42 of the 2021 Annual Meeting Program for some examples of prior symposia.

  1. Poster symposia are flexible in format and length (though most are scheduled for 4 hour slots in either the morning or afternoon) and may include as few as 10 or as many as 20 posters. Each poster symposium proposal should include designated discussion times for specific posters or groups of posters. If organizers of poster symposia wish to have poster space (in addition to the poster space dedicated for the presentations that will have associated abstracts) for an introduction, conclusion, or discussion, please request this space in your proposal submission. Poster symposia will be scheduled individually in designated space that will facilitate discussion., but please do make note of the your need for this physical space in your proposal. Organizers may request AV equipment to allow for short synopses of posters. Organizers who wish to cater their event (at their own cost) should contact the Program Chair as early as possible to make arrangements. 
  2. Podium symposia vary in length depending on whether they are scheduled in the morning or afternoon. Morning symposia may include up to 15 presentation slots of 15 minutes each, this includes any discussants. Afternoon symposia may include up to 14 presentation slots of 15 minutes each, also including any discussants. There are typically a total of six podium symposia. Quarter-day symposia are possible, and should include no fewer than 6 and and more than 8 presentation slots, again including any discussants. Podium symposium proposals that conform to the required number of half or quarter-day papers will be ranked as more desirable during review than those that are shorter.  
  3. Online symposia. Are you interested in organizing a symposium that would be exclusively in a virtual setting? For our previous online symposia, presentations were uploaded ahead of time for asynchronous viewing, followed by a 2-hour live event scheduled as a webinar. This proved to be a highly effective format, and we are open to including invited symposia with this online format to complement our in-person events.

Financial Support for Symposia

In the past, AABA has been able to provide up to $2,000 to help defray special symposium costs. We can consider proposals for each invited symposium up to this amount individually, though we may not be able to fund all of the invited symposia the full amount. Priority is given to symposia that include speakers/discussants who would not normally attend AABA meetings and significantly enhance the scientific value of the symposium, and to requests that increase diversity and outreach including scientists from developing countries.  Costs may include speaker travel and honoraria costs.  Requests may also include costs to extend the reach of scientific sessions through electronic/virtual technologies or other means that may go beyond what the Program Chair is already planning for the meeting.  Catering and reception costs will not be considered. Please include a detailed request, but know that decisions on funding will be made once the final format of the meeting has been decided.

Does AABA waive the registration fee for invited presenters who are not already members of AABA? Not at this time. However much AABA leadership would like to be able to waive the registration for non-member symposium presenters, we unfortunately do not have the resources to make this happen. However, symposium participants who are not AABA members do only pay the same as the members’ pre-registration fee. If this policy will be a significant hurdle for your symposium concept, consider proposing your idea as one of AABA’s webinars instead. Please feel free to reach out to AABA Vice President Amy Rector to discuss the possibility.

Symposium Proposal Submission

To submit your proposal, go to the ONLINE registration system (a link will be posted here on July 15).
The submission portal opens on July 15, 2024. (Proposals must be submitted ONLINE by midnight (11:59 PDT), August 15, 2024):  

You will need the following information: 

  1. Title of the symposium
  2. Submitter’s e-mail address and affiliation and the names and affiliations of co-organizers.
  3. Indication of preference for poster, podium, or online format. Please note that it may be impossible to honor your preference since we do not run concurrent podium symposia (thus, there are only six spots for invited symposia with an in-person podium format). Feedback from poster symposium participants has been very favorable, and our previous virtual meetings found that the online format can also be extremely effective.
  4. A short abstract (300 word maximum) describing the content and purpose of the symposium. If your symposium is accepted, this paragraph will appear in the program issue at the top of the session.
  5. Full names (spell out first names) and affiliations of the symposium participants, and the titles of their papers/posters in their order of presentation. Please indicate whether your participants have confirmed their participation. List all titles and authors in the order of appearance. Number each presentation. Start the next presentation on a new line.
  6. A statement of 300 words or less, briefly describing the diversity of session presenters, such as how they offer a balanced representation of the topic, institutional affiliation, career stage, ethnicity, and gender.
  7. If you are applying for funding to support your symposium, you will need to provide a detailed budget and budget justification along with a statement of the value-added to the symposium.

Use the following format for the names and affiliations of the symposium participants:

Presentation 1:              Title. Author1 last name, first name spelled out, (Affiliation); Author2 as for Author1;  etc.
Presentations 2 – n:     as for Presentation 1
Discussant:                     last name, first name spelled out (Affiliation)

Do not submit abstracts, registration materials, or fees at the time the symposium proposal is submitted.  

Please note: The online system will send you a link via e-mail to authenticate your registration–in some cases, especially gmail addresses and university e-mail run by Google—this e-mail may be filtered as spam. If you do not receive your link within 15 minutes of registering, try a different e-mail account. If the problem persists please e-mail Amy Rector at:

Symposium Proposal Review Process

The entire AABA Executive Committee and the Program Committee review and rank symposium proposals. The symposium organizer will be notified as to our decision to accept or reject the proposal, and the format (Poster or Podium) of accepted symposia no later than September 15, 2024.

Poorly focused proposals lacking sufficient planning and organization will be rejected. Symposia that provide a diversity of speakers representing different institutions and perspectives, ranks, and demographics will be given priority consideration in symposium selection.  Symposium proposals that seriously fail to meet this goal will be ranked lower and may be rejected.

We will be reviewing podium symposia as though we will hold these sessions in the usual AABA format of 15 minutes per presentation. Deviations from this format should be discussed in advance with the Program Chair (Amy Rector; Half-day symposia proposals for podium presentation that contain fewer than 11 presentations and one discussant will generally be ranked as less desirable than full symposia.

The number of sessions available for symposia is limited. Although every attempt will be made to accommodate the organizer’s preferred mode of presentation, this may not be possible owing to the limited number of oral sessions available during the three days of meetings. 

Tribute and memorial symposia should be submitted as poster symposia.

Acceptance of the symposium proposal does not guarantee acceptance of the individual abstracts; individual abstracts are subject to the same review and submission deadlines as are all other abstracts.

Accepted Symposia

If the proposal is accepted, the symposium abstracts and other materials are due at the same time as all other abstracts (October 15, 2024). Abstracts are submitted when registering for the meeting. The meeting registration website will be announced after the symposium proposal deadline.

For symposium participants: The submitting author should choose the appropriate named symposium from the drop-down menu.  Please let your participants know about this as we receive over 1,000 abstracts.

Please note: Acceptance of a symposium proposal does not ensure acceptance of individual abstracts.  

We encourage symposia organizers to stay in close contact with their contributors and to review the abstracts prior to submission to ensure they comply with the requirements of regular abstracts. Poor abstracts will be rejected, even if they are part of a symposium that has been accepted. It is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure that all authors submit abstracts by the deadline. It is also the organizer’s responsibility to insist that abstracts follow AABA specifications. The date for abstract submissions is a hard deadline.

The invited symposium proposal submission portal will open on July 15, 2024 and close on August 15, 2024 (11:59pm PDT).


Email AABA Vice President and Program Chair Amy Rector at