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02/06/10

New Open Access Journal: Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics (ARDAC)

Is this one of the first real web2.0-journals in anthropology? A new Open Access journal was launched: Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics (ARDAC)

It is no traditional journal. ARDAC was developed from within a social network site (Ning) and its aim is to incorporate web 2.0 technologies, photography, video, internet‐based content as well as traditional text (not in the first issue, though). In addition to traditional abstracts, the articles have their own “word clouds” (see example on the right - from the review of the film Avatar).

Interesting: The journal was inspired by our first Open Access Anthropology Day in 2009 and “is released this month to commemorate the young history of open access anthropology and to join the many new publications under the practice of open access", as editor Àngels Trias i Valls writes in her editorial Open Access Anthropology 2.0 as a type of altermodern experimentation.

The journal is innovative in another way as well: It is more inclusive towards anthropologists outside of the English speaking world: Non‐English speakers are allowed to express themselves in the kind of English that they feel familiar with rather than the kind of edited English that is standard in publications. The journal takes submissions in other languages as well. Work from individuals at early stages of their academic career are welcome as well as more senior academics and inclusive of the academic community at large.

Here a short overview over this issue from Àngels Trias i Valls’ editorial:

- (T)he first contributor, Veronica Barassi, send us an article that ethnographically narrated understandings of dissent and cultural politics through the analyses of discursive technologies and political action.

- Nick White looked at the pertinent issue of ‘copy’ and the issues of legality and illegality in music filesharing on the Internet.

- Hagai van der Host produced a fascinating review of the film Avatar, mirroring some of the ways in which film mythologies correspond to political realities, and how the levels of allegory and projection spoke for discursive discussion on orientalism, the morality of counterfeit and cultural imperialism in the American / Iraqui conflict.

- I was thankful of the opinion articles, from Clare Perkins and Stavroula Pipyrou, because they made distinctive points about the possibility of ‘re‐ directing the ethnographic lense’ (in Clare’s case of using anthropology to think about genetically modified products) and re‐telling the social appropriation of violence (in Stavroula’s Calabrian Mafia) in a way in which both articles convinced me of the possibility of using anthropology to re‐ position ourselves theoretically and in research practice in larger communities of knowledge.

- At the closing of this number Maria Paulina de Assis and Maria Elizabeth Bianconcini de Almeida brought an article that looked at the relationship between education and digital exclusion from an educational perspective and on the possibilities of multi‐ educational strategies for global educational contexts that have now consolidated through the Internet.

>> overview over the first issue

>> overview over Anthropology Open Access Journals

25/05/10

No more conferences in Arizona: Anthropologists condemn Immigration Law

Even (seemingly?) rather conservative organisations are able to act and protest: In an official resolution, passed on Saturday, The American Anthropological Association has condemned the new immigration law in Arizona.

The association will refuse to hold scholarly conferences in Arizona until the law is ”either repealed or struck down as constitutionally invalid”, as we read in the AAA blog:

“The AAA has a long and rich history of supporting policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion or sexual orientation,” AAA Executive Board Member (and resolution author) Debra Martin said in a statement issued today. “Recent actions by the Arizona officials and law enforcement are not only discriminatory; they are also predatory and unconstitutional.”

The AAA describes the so-called Arizona Senate Bill (SB) 1070 as ”the broadest and most strict law on immigration enacted in generations”. The organisation sees the law as a movement to target and harass Arizona’s large population of Hispanic immigrants.

>> read more on the AAA blog

In December, the AAA condemned the coup in Honduras. And in 2006, the AAA stood up against torture and the occupation of Iraq

Last week, Indigenous and American Indian Studies scholars called for an economic boycott of Arizona.

See also the post at Savage Minds: Whiteness as Ethnicity in Arizona’s New Racial Order

SEE ALSO:

Demonstrations against tougher immigration policy = birth of a new civil rights movement?

“Anthropologists Should Participate in the Current Immigration Debate”

Interview with Arjun Appadurai: “An increasing and irrational fear of the minorities”

Why borders don’t help - An engaged anthropology of the US-Mexican border

More Global Apartheid? New French immigration law

“Discuss politics!” - How anthropologists in Indonesia engage with the public

19/05/10

  01:16:43, by admin   . Categories: culture traditions, Europe, journal articles / papers

Durham Anthropology Journal: How "post-socialist" is Eastern Europe?

“Beyond postsocialism? Creativity, moral resistance and change in the corners of Eurasia” is the title of the new issue of Durham Anthropology Journal.

The authors want to give us alternative views on so called postsocialist societies.

Postsocialist studies, David Henig explains in his editorial, have been dominated by Western perspectives (the East as the “Other") and also by discourses of capitalist “triumphalism” (from socialism or dictatorship to liberal democracy, from plan to market economy).

The reality is different. Anthropologists have found important continuities between socialist and post-socialist eras.

Míriam Torrens has been on fieldwork in rural Romania. Instead of postsocialism or new capitalism", she writes, “what we find in these communities is the prevailing picture of a traditional peasanthood with some ‘innovations’":

(B)oth socialist and liberal economists (…) have failed in taking into account the strength – and the reasons for this strength – of social institutions such as the family and the community, their customary law and the broad impact of communal and cooperative action.

Durham Anthropology Journal is an open access journal

>> download / overview over all articles in the new issue

11/05/10

Open Access: Anthropological Notebooks - journal of the Slovenian Anthropological Society

For some reason this journal has hardly been mentioned on anthropology blogs. But Anthropology Notebooks is actually one of the few serious traditional anthropology journals with free access to all articles for everybody (from 2005). And it is an expanding journal: While promising recent open access initiatives like After Culture have shut down, Anthropology Notebooks has started publishing three issues instead of one issue per year.

The journal has an international editorial board, it is peer reviewed, and it is abstracted and indexed in international bibliographic databases. All articles are in English.

The most recent issue was published a few weeks ago and is about Contributions to Anthropology of Tourism. Example: Emilio Cocco: Performing Maritime Imperial Legacies: Tourism and Cosmopolitanism in Odessa and Trieste

A quick look revealed a wide rage of topics and locations, we find articles like:

László Kürti: East and West: The scholarly divide in anthropology

Johan Wedel: Bridging the Gap between Western and Indigenous Medicine in Eastern Nicaragua

Andrej Rus: ’Gift vs. commoditiy’ debate revisited

Urška Rajgelj: Does Family Policy Affect Decisions to Become a Parent? Case examples

Hossein Barani: Teaching the shepherds or learning from them? The Iranian experience

Marjeta Kovac: When social becomes biological: The effect of different physical education curricula on motor and physical development of high-school girls

Liza Debevec & Blanka Tivadar: Making connections through foodways: contemporary issues in anthropological and sociological studies of food

>> overview over all issues

>> overview over Open Access Anthropology Journals

08/05/10

Protests against Human Zoo i Houston: Africans on display together with chimpanzees?

Five years ago people from all over the world protested against the “African Village” in the zoo in Augsburg, Germany. Now, a new campaign is being planned against “The African Forest“, a $50 million project in the Houston Zoo, where “African culture” is on display together with chimpanzees and giraffes.

The 6.5-acre exhibit is designed “to give patrons the illusion they are strolling through an open landscape populated with chimpanzees, giraffes and other equatorial animals". “Through presentations and artifacts, human cultures of the equatorial forests will be included in the exhibit” , landscape architect Jim Brighton told the Houston Chronicle. “Houses fashioned from tree leaves — a form of temporary housing — will be constructed for children’s activities.".

“This is indeed like the African village in Augsburg - except this is a project that costs tens of millions of dollars and will be permanent - and some of the same anthropologists who protested that human zoo are onboard to protest this one such as Nina Glick Schiller and Data Dea", explains Shannon Joyce Prince, Dartmouth Lombard Fellow and citizen of Houston, in an email to me.

The Zoo is according to Prince “only showing aspects of Africa that fit Western stereotypes of cultural anachronism and primitivism. It “falls neatly into the contemptible tradition of its human zoo predecessors, replicating a non-white village, a place where non-white humans live, in a zoo among the habitats where animals live".

“The African Forest is about exhibiting and teaching inaccurate Western conceptions of African indigenous cultures in a place designed to exhibit and teach about animals. The African Forest is also about making and keeping African indigenous peoples conservation refugees. The African Forest and the practices it promotes are neither about respecting Africans nor protecting animals. They’re about claiming authority over African land, wildlife, and human lives", Shannon Joyce Prince writes in a paper.

In the Zoo’s view, Africans are in conflict with wildlife, she writes. Therefore, African Forest plans to promote ecotourism as a way to “help” Africans and African wildlife. But the consequences of such conservation activities are often devasting specifically for central Africans and pygmies. For in Africa it’s common for conservationists to create refuges to conserve wildlife by simply kicking Africans out. The Zoo is funded by corporations like Exxon, Chevron, Shell that have are involved in this business:

Basically, among the corporations that fund the Houston Zoo are some of the most human and wildlife rights abusing corporations in existence. These same businesses try to clean up their images by creating wildlife refuges – but they create those refuges by forcing indigenous people off their land. Then the Zoo, which receives funding from those corporations, claims that the indigenous people who are getting kicked off their land are the ones who harm wildlife and promotes conservation and conservation refuges.

>> Shannon Joyce Prince: Human Zoos, Conservation Refugees, and the Houston Zoo’s The African Forest (pdf, short versjon)

>> Human Zoos, Conservation Refugees, and the Houston Zoo’s The African Forest (long version)

Shannon Joyce Prince sent a letter to the Houston Zoo several weeks ago which has not received a response.

She asks for “opposing The African Forest, human zoos, and the creation/perpetuation of the conservation refugee crisis in one or more of the following ways":

1. Tell the Houston Zoo you are against The African Forest human zoo and the creation of conservation refugees as well as the continuation of the conservation refugee crisis by contacting the Houston Zoo here: http://houstonzoo.com/contact/. Tell the Houston Zoo that you will boycott zoos that host human zoos and/or make/keep Africans conservation refugees. Please mention your affiliations. Be sure to send a copy of your message to nohumanzoo (AT) yahoo.com so that we have a record of your letter in case the Zoo doesn‚t respond and to prevent the Zoo from deciding to claim that no one is protesting.

2. Send your name and affiliation to nohumanzoo (AT) yahoo.com if you want to be put on a petition stating, „We, the undersigned, do not support The African Forest human zoo, the creation of conservation refugees, or the continuation of the conservation refugee crisis.”

3. Raise awareness about The African Forest through your blog and encourage others to write the Zoo and sign the petition.

Please be aware that, naturally, the letter you send or your signature on the petition may be made public.

“The racialization processes facilitated by the Augsburg zoo and other zoos are not benign because they can lay the ground work for discrimination, barriers to social mobility, persecution, and repression", anthropologists Nina Glick Schiller, Data Dea and Markus Höhne wrote in their report African African Culture and the Zoo in the 21st Century: The “African Village” in the Augsburg Zoo and Its Wider Implications (pdf)

Such “ethnological exhibitions” or “Völkerschauen” have a long history, linked to colonialism. For more than half a century - from the beginning of the 1870s to the end of the 1930s - the exposition of so-called exotic peoples in zoological gardens** and international expositions attracted a huge public.

UPDATE: Interesting debate and round-up at ZooChat: Cultural Zoo Exhibits = Racist? » Houston Zoo

SEE ALSO:

African village in the Zoo: Protest against racist exhibition

In Detroit and London: More African Villages in the Zoo

Thesis: Conservation for Whom? Telling Good Lies in the Development of Central Kalahari

In Norwegian TV: Indian tribe paid to go naked to appear more primitive

Is this anthropology? African pygmies observe Britains in TV-show

Geldof’s Live8 and Western myths about Africa

24/04/10

  01:53:35, by admin   . Categories: culture traditions, Pacific Oceania, books, art

Polynesian Tattoos and Public Anthropology

Public anthropology does exist. There are lots of anthropologists who write for the wider public and not only for other anthronerds. Here’s another example: The Polynesian Tattoo Today by Tricia Allen, doctoral candidate in anthropology at the university of Hawai’i.

In an interview with Honolulu’s Star Bulletin, she explains:

“The first book did well; it is now in its third printing. Its primary readership was those with a specific interest in Hawai’i and history. The new book will reach a larger audience, as it is far more general – covering all of Polynesia – and is primarily photographs. Anyone can enjoy looking at beautiful photos of artful bodies!”

The book was not launched in a traditional academic way with a seminar. The publishers hosted a “Tattoo Contest". Tricia Allen and several Polynesian tattoo artists were “on hand to autograph books – or your arm".

Allen is by the way not only anthropologist but tattoo artist herself and has tattooed over 8000 members of the Polynesian community. She completed her Master’s thesis at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 1992 on the early practice of tattooing in the Marquesas Islands. For her doctoral thesis, she is researching the revival of the arts in the Pacific. “In the last few years a pan-Polynesian style has gotten incredibly popular", she says.

>> read the whole story in the Star Bulletin

Her new book is already mentioned in several blogs and forums like Twistedprints, Honolulu Magazine, and Tattoosday.

“Many tattoos featured in the book are a mixture of styles… Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan. Polynesian tattoos are increasing in popularity and many traditional designs have been revived", writes M.L. Sanico i his review in the Hawaii Book Blog:

What I especially liked about the book is seeing the diversity of people who have these tattoos, and who are tattoo artists themselves. Each photo has a short caption with the person or tattooists name, where they’re from and a little bit about the tattoo or what it means to them.

In an earlier interview, Tricia Allen tells us more about the revival of Polynesian tattoos:

There is a revival of all of the ancient arts: tattooing, tapa making, weaving, carving, dance, chanting and firewalking. There is a whole resurgence of Polynesian culture, and tattooing is just a part of that. In my mind it is one of the most significant parts of the revival because it’s such a permanent statement: “I’m Polynesian.” And to some degree in many cases it is a political statement, or a statement of allegiance to the traditional culture.

Also check her own website with more tattoo infos and pictures.

The recent example of public anthropology was my blog post Anthropologist uncovers how global elites undermine democracy and one of the most read posts ever.

SEE ALSO:

Nancy Scheper-Hughes: Public anthropology through collaboration with journalists

Marianne Gullestad and How to be a public intellectual

Why anthropology fails to arouse interest among the public - Engaging Anthropology (2)

What anthropologists and artists have in common

Manga instead of scientific paper: How art enriches anthropology

08/04/10

Popular Anthropology Magazine = fail

The first issue of the Popular Anthropology Magazine is out. It was meant to bridge the gap between academia and the public and between anthropologists and continents. Cool, we needed that. But the result is - in my opinion - disappointing. For it was made with outdated paper journals as ideal. The editors were thinking paper, not web. They do provide a downloadable version on their website but the flash animated paper-look-like version is a pain to navigate and read (the automatic scrolling is very irritating).

I finally tried to download the whole journal. It took ages and Firefox was about to crash. When the file finally was saved, it turned out to be 151 MB heavy. The pdf consisted of image files! Which means it is partly hard to read and you cannot copy and paste its content, and the links are not clickable. Fail! Can’t anthropologists do better? The articles deserve better. The table of contents looks promising, especially the sections on social science around the world.

>> take a look

SEE ALSO:

Anthronow - new magazine will make anthropology accessible to lay readers

New e-zine: American Ethnography

Imponderabilia - new international anthropology student journal

Open Access Anthropology Journals

06/04/10

Why anthropologists should study news media

Bad News. Photo: Stitch, flickr

The time is right for more anthropologists to engage with news media - with their creation, reception and content, writes S Elizabeth Bird in the recent issue of Anthropology News that was published today.

Anthropological engagement with media was long rare and discouraged - and in some quarters still is, Bird criticizes. The main focus has in her view been on topics like the role of television in family life, or the maintenance of diaspora connections through digital media but not on news production or reception.

This neglect is according to her important because “news is the one popular genre that claims to describe reality for the public". Most of what people know about the world is mediated in one way or another:

Throughout the world, people argue, fight and die for stories in which they believe. So it is important to dissect and interpret them: the use of language, the choice of words, the images, the entire frame of the news coverage.

She suggests following research questions:

  • Which stories are being told and which are not?
  • Whose stories are being told, whose are not, and why?
  • How do journalistic routines and values vary across cultural contexts, and how does that produce different kinds of news?
  • How does the choice of images take the story in one direction or another?
  • How does the story then become part of the common-sense reality in specific cultural contexts?

High profile issues like war, she continues, illustrate these questions dramatically:

We all know, for instance, that the story of the Iraq war is deeply contested. If we have a lot of time, we can scour the Internet, sift through multiple accounts, and reach a conclusion. Most people have neither the time nor the resources to do that; they have little choice but to attend to the stories that predominate.

If we understand better how journalism works, she concludes, not only will we better understand our mediated global cultures, but we will also become more adept at working with journalists to tell anthropology’s stories more effectively.

>> download the whole article: Anthropological Engagement with News Media: Why Now?

I have to admit I’m a bit surprised about her analysis. Is the study of news really so much neglected? But that’s maybe because I tend to read more anthropology blogs than journals? It’s in blogs this kind of media anthropology is happening?

There are six more articles on anthropology and journalism online, among others Reviewing Books in Popular Media Anthropologists as Authors and Critics by Barbara J King.

“Merging book reviewing with journalism", she writes, “opens up a space in which we may fling our fierce book-engagement out into the wider world, and see what comes back to us:

When reviewing, the single greatest joy for me is the oppor- tunity to showcase our colleagues’ brilliance. I look for books that bring alive people’s patterns of meaning-making as they flourish and struggle in their daily lives, books that make us see with new eyes behaviors familiar and strange to our own society or at times even to our own species.

There have been many debates on the similarities of anthropology and journalism in the blogosphere, both here on antropologi.info and on Savage Minds (see Why is there no Anthropology Journalism? and Anthropology Journalism HOWTO)

In Divergent Temporalities. On the Division of Labor between Journalism and Anthropology, Dominic Boyer shares some interesting observations about the borders between anthropology and journalism that seem to overlap more and more.

The contemporary market and labor conditions pressure anthropologists to adopt faster modes of research and writing than ever before:

Even doctoral candidates report feeling enormous pressure to publish their research findings well in advance of receiving their PhDs. Not unlike the desk journalists of old, we find ourselves increasingly concerned with “getting the story” (Peterson in Anthropological Quarterly 74[4]), that is, with chasing the next publication opportunity to keep up with market expectations and the demands of institutional audit cultures.

>> overview over all articles in Anthropology News April 2010

The best source on media anthropology might be the website http://media-anthropology.net with mailing list and a long list of working papers and the blog media/anthropology by John Postill

A good example of an anthropology of news can be found in the february issue of Anthropology Today (free access!!). In Heart of darkness reinvented? A tale of ex-soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sindre Bangstad and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen analyze Norwegian media’s representation of Congo.

SEE ALSO:

Why anthropologists should become journalists

Nancy Scheper-Hughes: Public anthropology through collaboration with journalists

The end of one-way communication - Anthropologists help news providers and advertisers

In Norwegian TV: Indian tribe paid to go naked to appear more primitive

John Postill on media anthropology and internet activism in Malaysia

Introduction to “Media Worlds": Media an important field for anthropology

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