International Congress of Americanists

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The International Congress of Americanists (ICA) is an international academic conference for research in multidisciplinary studies of the Americas. Established August 25, 1875 in Nancy, France, the scholars' forum has met regularly since its inception, presently in three year increments, with the exception of during the conflict of World War II. Its meeting location alternates between Europe and the Americas.[1] Congress members come from a variety of disciplines, including, anthropology, archaeology, art, education, economy, geography, history, human rights, law, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, and urban studies.[2]

Goal of the International Congress of Americanists: Contribuer au progrès des études ethnographiques, linguistiques et historiques relatives aux deux Amériques, spécialement pour les temps antérieurs à Christophe Colomb, et de mettre en rapport les personnes qui s'intéressent à ces études.


A wide variety of subjects have been presented at the various conferences. Father Émile Petitot spoke at the 1875 Congress on the matter of the Asiatic origin of Inuit and North American Indians.[3] Precipitated by a comment from Franz Boas, a "lively controversy" occurred at the 1902 conference in New York City over the coined word "Amerind".[4] At the 1910 session in Mexico City, Marcos E. Becerra presented a paper on Hernán Cortés's 1524–25 expedition to Las Hibueras. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, a co-operative of academic anthropologist researchers and human rights activists, was first proposed at the Munich/Stuttgart conference in August 1968. The 1982 congress in Manchester included the largest conference ever convened on the Amazon basin.[5] At the 1988 congress in Amsterdam, researchers organized a symposium agreeing to create a European network for the interchange of information about Latin America produced in Europe which was the precursor for REDIAL.

The president of the 53rd Congress was the Mexican anthropologist Elio Masferrer Kan. The event took place July 19–24, 2009, in Mexico City. The 54th Congress took place July 15–20, 2012 in Vienna (Austria), and was organized by the University of Vienna, the Austrian Latin America Institute and the Museum of Ethnology, Vienna. The 55th Congress will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador, from July 12–17, 2015 with the theme "Conflict, Peace, and Construction of Identities in the Americas."

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