International Association of Assyriology (IAA): Proposed Change of Name
This consultation paper sets out the reasoning behind the IAA Board’s proposal to change the name of the Association. This proposal will be put to a vote by IAA members at the next General Meeting at Marburg in July 2017 (proxy votes will be available to those who cannot attend in person).
To quote from the IAA website [http://iaassyriology.org/founding-of-the-iaa/]:
“The IAA was founded during the general meeting at the 49th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale in London (7–11 July 2003). It is a non-profit organisation and a non-political institution. The goals of the IAA are:
- To serve as a platform for scholars working in Cuneiform Studies, and Near Eastern Archaeology;
- To discuss all matters concerning these fields;
- To encourage and promote the study of these fields in all their aspects on an international basis.”
Although Near Eastern Archaeology has always formed an integral part of the IAA’s remit, as can be seen in the statement of goals cited above, this is not reflected in its name, the ‘International Association of Assyriology’. In its recent discussions the Board of the IAA decided that the time has come to revisit the question of the name with the idea of changing it to one that more accurately reflects the scope of the Association’s concerns.
The proposal to change the name to the ‘International Association for Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology’ was accordingly presented to the members at the General Meeting held on Thursday 14 July at the 62nd RAI in Philadelphia. Following a brief discussion, it was decided to defer the issue until next year’s RAI in Marburg (2017), to allow for a period of consultation with the wider membership, including those not present at the 2016 General Meeting, and to allow the Board to set up proxy voting in time for the 2017 General Meeting so that the resulting decision reflects the widest possible voting membership.
In the following paragraphs we set out what we consider to be the advantages of the change of name, as well as the organisational and financial implications for the Association in implementing the change.
The Proposed Name
In its discussion the members of the Board opted to include Mesopotamian Archaeology in the proposed new name, since it was considered that Mesopotamian Archaeology, rather liberally understood, most accurately describes the region that is the focus of the Association’s membership and activities. ‘Near Eastern Archaeology’ is much wider in scope, both chronologically and geographically, encompassing periods and regions that are not normally covered by the Association’s members (most notably prehistory, as well as the Arabian peninsula, the Caucasus and regions further east, etc.). Essentially, we are dealing with the archaeology of what have sometimes been termed ‘cuneiform cultures’.
Advantages of the Proposed Change of Name
The Board believes that the proposed change of name will have a number of advantages:
- The new name will make it clear that the Association is intended to be open to Near Eastern archaeologists as well as Assyriologists. This is important for two reasons. First, informal feedback from archaeological colleagues indicates that some of them feel excluded by the Association’s current name. (Though ICAANE, the biennial International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, was founded at Rome in 1998, it should be noted that ICAANE is an international conference and not an association of members, thus its role is quite different from that of the IAA.) Second, if we are to increase the Association’s membership, it is important that we do not discourage potential members by inadvertently restricting the Association’s appeal.
- The new name will also make it clear that the Association strives to represent the interests of the field in the widest sense. This is particularly important when the Association acts as a representative body for our discipline in an international context, particularly with regard to the ongoing cultural heritage crisis in Iraq and Syria.
- The proposed change of name will contribute to breaking down disciplinary boundaries. For many of our members, interdisciplinary research and collaboration is central to their endeavours. The new name will better reflect the realities of our academic setting.
Implications of the Proposed Change of Name
The financial cost of making the change amounts to 500 Euros, the cost of hiring a notary to draw up a notarial deed (this occasion may present the opportunity to make other minor changes to the constitution). The administrative procedure to be followed in case of a proposed change to the IAA constitution is set out in Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution (http://iaassyriology.org/rules-and-regulations/):
Art. 14. Changes in the Articles of Association
- Changing the constitution can take place only after a decision of a General Meeting, and only if a proposed change of the constitution has been announced as one of the items on the agenda. The notice for calling such a Meeting must be no less than three months.
- Those who have called a General Meeting in order to put forward a proposal for changing the constitution must make a copy of the proposal available in a suitable place accessible to the members at least three months before the Meeting and until after the Meeting has concluded, and it must contain the proposed changes verbatim.
- For a decision taken in a General Meeting about changing the constitution to be valid it is required that at least half of the total amount of members be present or be represented, and by a majority of at least two thirds of the voting members.
- In the absence of a quorum a change in the constitution can be decided upon at a new Extraordinary Meeting, to be held thirty days after the first Meeting, by a majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the members present or represented.
- What is stipulated in art. 14 is not applicable if all the members are present or represented at the General Meeting and the decision to change the constitution is taken unanimously.
Art. 15. Notarial Deed
1. Any change to the constitution will take effect only after a notarial deed of that change has been drawn up.
2. The Secretary is obliged to have an authentic copy of the changes as well as a complete text of the changed constitution deposited at the offices of the Chamber of Commerce in which the Association has its base location.
[In addition to the measures outlined above, the Association will also have to register the change of name with the Chamber of Commerce. There is no charge for this.]
In accordance with this procedure the proposed change, in the event of a vote in favour, will entail emending Art. 1.1. of the Constitution as follows:
Art. 1.1. The Association has the name “International Association for Assyriology”, hereinafter to be called “the Association”.
Proposed new wording
Art. 1.1. The Association has the name “International Association for Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology”, hereinafter to be called “the Association”.
The Consultation Process
We invite comments and suggestions concerning the proposed change of name, whether supportive or critical, from the IAA members. These may be submitted online in the form of comments (***insert url of webpage where the above text is posted***).
Comments are pre-moderated. Colleagues are reminded to ensure that their comments are relevant and conform to the accepted standards of civil discourse. Posts that are off-topic or discourteous will be rejected, as will spam.