The American Communication Association (ACA) began in 1993 at a very informal gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana where several noteworthy scholars were attending a major domestic communication conference. Academicians in free speech studies, computer-mediated communication, and organizational communication and behavior voiced their serious concerns about the rising membership dues and conference fee costs associated with several of the popular academic associations. And furthermore, they were highly concerned about exactly what their monies were being used for.
So, these fine budget-conscious scholars set out to incorporate the ACA. It would be a “grand thought experiment,” commented former Executive Director Dr. Rita Kirk, “where thinking could easily occur outside the proverbial box.”
The basic idea then was as simple as it is today: (1) create a no-dues membership communication association, (2) sponsor vibrant and timely online discussions about matters of importance to the discipline, (3) hold annual zero-budget conferences, and (4) foster the quality online publication of research benefiting the communication community.
Accordingly, at the Court of Two Sisters on Royal Street in New Orleans — over jumbo lump crabmeat ravigote with fried green tomatoes and Abita amber beer — these scholars embarked on a significant team mission.
That mission? To create a “new” kind of academic association, dedicated more to the thought logics of the discipline than the fripperies of organizational profit. Over the years, the ACA has held firm to that mission, relying on the goodwill and energy of scholars dedicated to the study of communication. Our history is young, but our will is strong.
Won’t you join us, and be part of something great?