The SAE was first conceived in 1986 and its first elections as a section of the AAA were held in the Fall of 1987. The purposes of the organization, as announced in the organizing letter that went out to colleagues in 1986, were:
- Strengthening national and international networks between colleagues.
- Providing forums for discussion and debate
- Encouraging comparative research
- Enhancing the visibility and legitimacy of Europeanist anthropology, both within the discipline and among other Europeanist groups
- Facilitating dissemination of information about employment opportunities, grants, visiting European scholars, and other resources
- Promoting the professional integration of students specializing in Europe
The SAE is the section of the American Anthropological Association that promotes the anthropological study of European societies and cultures and encourages connections between scholars working in Europe.
Section activities include publication projects, the H-SAE listserv, an annual book prize, a student paper prize, a pre-dissertation research fellowship, sponsored panels and networking luncheons at the AAA meetings, and networks based on topical and geographic interests.
SAE has connections to the Council for European Studies (CES) and the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). We encourage transatlantic collaborations and welcome student members.